by Rick Bretz
A look back at transportation modes throughout history tells us that when using new technology is left to humanity, moving from one place to another can bring joy or pain. The horse could carry someone coming back to see their family or someone to conquer their homelands. A plane can bring needed supplies like the Berlin Airlift or drop bombs bringing devastation as the world saw at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Civilization has sought to contract space and time so now a person or country’s military can move across the globe in a few hours or days.
Driving across a country also gives the passenger a different perspective than say flying and looking down at the same landmark or land mass. Driving and stopping makes the experience more personal while flying and looking down presents someone with a spectacular view but distant.
Two perfect examples of two different personal experiences are flying over the Mississippi River or the Grand Canyon before landing at the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. The two land marks look awe-inspiring from your window seat in the airplane but seem are breathtaking when driving and seeing them up close, especially when you consider where you cross the Mississippi River. Let’s compare are primary ways to get from point A to Point B.
|First True Automobile (Internal Combustion Engine) 1885/1886 (Karl Benz)||1804-First Steam Locomotive for the road hauled freight in Wales||1903-Wright brothers achieve sustained flight flying a properly engineered aircraft in NC||4000BC-First sailing boats built from reeds in Egypt.|
|Steam Engine Auto (1769)||1825-The Stockton and Darlington Railroad company hauls freight and passengers over 9 miles using George Stephenson steam locomotive for tracks||1904 First airplane maneuvers (Turn and Circle) Wright Brothers)||1000BC-Vikings build long ships using oarsmen.|
|Electric Carriage (1832-1839)||1826-Col John Stevens demonstrates the feasibility of steam locomotives on experimental track in Hoboken, NJ.||1905 First Airplane Flight over a half hour (33 minutes, 17 seconds) Orville Wright||1100AD-Chinese build junks with watertight compartments and strong sails using a rudder to steer.|
|1886 (First Four Wheeled, four Stroke Engine) Daimler/Maybach||1830-Peter Cooper operates the first American built steam locomotive on a common carrier railroad.||1908-First Airplane fatality Lt. Thomas Selfridge, US Army Signal Corps. During evaluation flight propeller hit bracing wire.||1400s-Three and Four Mast ships introduced for cargo transportation, military power, and passenger travel|
|1876-1895 George Baldwin Seldon combine internal combustion engine with carriage||1857-George Pullman invents the Pullman sleeping car. The first comfortable overnight sleeper.||1910- First licensed woman pilot. Baroness Raymonde de la Roche who learned to fly in 1909.||1819-First Steam ships used to cross Atlantic using steam and wind power.|
|1893-Charles and Frank Duryea set up first Car manufacturing company||1881-Mary Walton receives patent for an elevated train noise dampening system.||1914-First Aerial combat between German and allied pilots||1845-First ocean-going liner using engine power and propeller driven built|
|1908-Henry Ford introduces Model-T||1855-First land grant railroad completed, The Illinois Central||1910-First Flight from shipboard||1914-Panama Canal opened|
|1913-Ford Motor Company perfects moving assembly line||1856-First Railway bridge across the Mississippi completed between Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa||1927-First solo nonstop transatlantic flight (Charles Lindbergh)||1825-Erie Canal Opens|
|1921-Italy constructed first limited access road (Auto Strada) 1932-German Bonn-Cologne Autobahn Constructed, 1922-First Blue Print for US National Highway System, 1956 The Federal Aid Highway Act allocating funds for extensive US Highway System.||1862-President Lincoln signs the Pacific Railway Act authorizing the construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad||1929-First blind flight using instruments. Took off and landed using instruments. (James Doolittle)||1811-First steamboat used on Mississippi River.|
|1938-1940-Merritt Parkway opened as first US fully controlled access parkway (Barrier Toll Plazas) from Hartford to New York City.||1869-The Central Pacific and Union Pacific meet at Promontory Summit, Utah for the driving of the Gold Spike.||1932-First woman to fly transatlantic solo. (Amelia Earhart)||1900-First cruise ship, the Prinzessin Victoria Louise, built for the Hamburg America Line, begins moving passengers using 120 first class cabins.|
|1899-First Speeding infraction in NYC committed by Cad Driver going 12 MPH in 8 MPH zone.||1872-George Westinghouse patents the first automatic air brake.||1933-First round-the-world solo flight (Wiley Post)||April 15, 1912-RMS Titanic Sinks crossing the Atlantic|
|1868-First Traffic Light used in London operated by Gas Lamps||1970-Congress passes the Rail Passenger Service Act creating Amtrak||1952-First Jet Liner Service between London and Johannesburg, South Africa. (23 hours, 38 minutes)||2012-Oasis of the Seas, largest cruise ship in the world|
Most people have a favorite way to get to their destination. What determines the final decision? A fellow traveler bases where to place his soul thinking about several factors–time, money, convenience and the fear of travelling by certain modes. Phobias can play an important role when travelling, sometimes more than funding. Beyond a person’s individual preferences, the comparison chart above shows that each form has benefited from the creativity, intelligence, courage, sacrifice and fortitude of many people to arrive where we are today.
Other Modes: Walk, Jog, Bicycle, Tricycle, Motorcycle, Scooter, roller-skate, inline skate, Skateboard, escalator, surfboard, swimming, snowmobile, four-wheeler, Riding Lawn Mower, Farm Tractor, Public Bus, Horse, Camel, Llama, Oxen, Donkey, Mule, space shuttle, space capsule, hang gliders, trolley cars.