The Significance of Transportation to Civilisation

Significance of Transportation to Civilisation

According to Wikipedia, transportation is defined as the movement of people, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cables, pipeline and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations.

Transport is important since it establishes trade between people, which in turn establishes civilisations.

According to APICS dictionary, logistics is defined as:

  1. In an industrial context; the art and science of obtaining, producing, and distributing material and product in the proper place and in proper quantities
  2. In a  military sense (where it has greater usage), it’s meaning can also include the movement of personel

The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) defines logistics as the process of planning, implementing and controlling procedures for the efficient and effective transportation and storage of goods including services, and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements. This definition includes inbound, outbound, internal and external movements.

When we speak of transportation, we mean all the methods and systems for the movement of commodities and persons. That transportation is a powerful influence in the lives and individuals and on the destiny of nations is clear, but, like many other factors in modern life, it is frequently taken for granted and its peculiar significance overlooked.

When the progress of civilisation is reviewed, one impressive fact looms large in the history of all peoples. In the primitive stages of development they have to spend practically all of their time in securing the products necessary to maintain life. It is only when there is some material surplus available that the human race makes much progress. When the struggle with nature is so keen that only the physical wants are satisfied, man is unable to spend effort or thought upon intellectual or cultural matters. Therefore there must be some surplus of goods and time if the aesthetic and mental interests of life are to be stimulated.

Transportation aids this prerequisite of civilisation in two ways: first, by making goods available over a wider geographical area, and second, by increasing the output of goods. If we study those nations which have generally been regarded as highly civilized in the early history of the race, we find a rather high degree of correlation between their stages of advancement and the art of transportation. This does not mean that the art of transportation is always the cause of cultural development,; indeed, it is sometimes the result. But however the causal relationship may run, it remains true that no great civilisation has been built without some well-defined system of transportation.

-The Significance of Transportation to Civilizations William Mather Lewis

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