Segments in this Video

The Transportation Revolution (02:34)


Development of transportation is a relatively recent phenomenon in human history. Ever-changing transportation technology transforms travel, trade, development, and all aspects of society.

Transportation, Cities, and Empires (02:28)

Invention of the wheel, the taming of horses, and the use of sails to navigate the seas all coincided with the births of humankind's first great cities. The Romans built a great network of stone-paved roads to build and defend their empire.

New Roads and Public Transportation (02:47)

Eighteenth century European kings built new roads to improve military and economic power. Public transportation developed as carriage designs improved and networks of station houses were established.

Steam Powered Transportation (05:10)

Steam power drove transportation into a new era. Railways and steamships revolutionized travel, immigration, and trade; trains helped make the industrial revolution possible.

City Traffic (01:43)

At the beginning of the 20th century new modes of transportation created traffic problems in cities. Pedestrians, horse drawn vehicles, electric streetcars, and bicycles all competed for the same congested space.

The Motorized Society (04:48)

The first automobiles appeared on the roads in the middle of the 19th century. Development of the internal combustion engine and Henry Ford's assembly line production helped fulfill Ford's prediction that automobiles would replace horses.

Milestones in Aviation History (02:14)

In 1903 the Wright brothers flew an airplane 50 meters in 12 seconds; in 1927 Charles Lindbergh flew from New York to Paris. These pioneers of aviation and others risked their lives to achieve the milestones that mark aviation history.

Commercial Aviation (02:01)

Aviation played a deciding role in determining the outcome of World War II. The development of radar and of jet engines gave rise to the age of commercial airline transportation.

Automobiles, Airplanes, and the American Dream (02:53)

The 1950's automobile industry used marketing strategies to sell cars as part of the American dream. During the 1960's commercial air travel became accessible to the middle class and automobile sales exploded.

The Social Costs of Cars (03:49)

During the 1960's Ralph Nader denounced safety risks associated with automobiles and people became more aware of the social costs of cars. In the 1970s, Americans developed concerns about air pollution and dependence on foreign oil.

Age of the Sport Utility Vehicle (02:17)

In the 1990's Americans forgot lessons learned about the social costs of cars and abandoned public transportation and fuel efficient cars. Modern American suburbanites depend almost exclusively on cars for transportation.

Traffic Congestion (01:34)

Airlines serve more than one billion passengers each year; more than 1000 airplanes take off each day from major airports. Increased air traffic raises fears about airplane accidents, but automobile accidents are much more deadly.

Transportation in Developing Countries (02:56)

Walking remains the most common form of transportation for most people in the world. Economic development in several Asian countries has led to dramatic increases in the numbers of cars on the roads.

Oil and Environmental Issues (02:03)

The fear that global petroleum reserves are running low has initiated a rush to exploit new deposits. Oil consumption contributes to oil spills, global warming, and other environmental problems.

High Speed Trains (03:27)

Many see public transit as a key to the future of environmental protection. High speed trains in Japan and Europe are fast and efficient; such trains have not gained popularity in the United States.

Transportation: The Path of the Future (04:12)

Some futuristic vehicles might become realities, but most will remain in the realm of science fiction. The computer age has had some effect on the travel needs of workers but technology will not likely reduce our need for transportation.

To Travel Faster and Further (02:49)

Transportation will continue to expand to meet global travel and commerce needs. The transportation revolution is one of technical advances and imaginative solutions to the human desire to travel faster and further than before.

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Part of the Series : Behold Humanity! A Sociological Perspective
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For thousands of years, travel by foot, horseback, carriage, and sailing ship were the only ways to get around, setting the pace of society and, to a large degree, circumscribing the potential of humankind. But all of that changed with the advent of steamships, trains, automobiles, and airplanes. In this program, Ronald E. G. Davies, curator of air transport at the National Air and Space Museum; historian Ruth Schwartz Cowan; MIT researcher Andreas Schafer; and other authorities investigate the revolutionary impact of modern transportation on society—and on the environment, where pollution is taking a heavy toll. (53 minutes)

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL10503

ISBN: 978-1-4213-0627-8

Copyright date: ©1999

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.