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The Industrial Revolution in the 19th century saw a number of inventions change transport. With telegraphy, communication became instant and independent of the transport of physical objects. The invention of the steam engine, closely followed by its application in rail transport. Thereafter made land transport independent of human or animal muscles. Both speed and capacity increased. Allowing specialization through manufacturing being located independently of natural resources. The 19th century also saw the development of the steam ship, which sped up global transport.
With the development of the combustion engine and the automobile around 1900, road transport became more competitive again, subsequently mechanical private transport originated. The first “modern” highways were constructed during the 19th century. Later, “tarmac and concrete became the dominant paving materials. In 1903 the Wright brothers demonstrated the first successful controllable airplane, and after World War I (1914–1918) aircraft became a fast way to transport people and express goods over long distances.
After World War II (1939–1945) the automobile and airlines took higher shares of transport, reducing rail and water to freight and short-haul passenger services. Scientific spaceflight began in the 1950s, with rapid growth until the 1970s, when interest dwindled.
In the 1950s the introduction of containerization gave massive efficiency gains in freight transport. International air travel became much more accessible in the 1960s with the commercialization of the jet engine. Along with the growth in automobiles and motorways, rail and water transport declined in relative importance.
Recently, however, a movement to privatize roads and other infrastructure has gained some ground and adherents. [Reprinted from Wikipedia 2020]
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