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Chapter 2 - Transportation and the Spatial Structure
Transportation has a strong influence on the spatial structure at
the local, regional and global levels. An historical perspective on the evolution of transport systems underlines
the impacts of technological innovations and how improvements in transportation
were interdependent with economic, social and spatial changes. The
current transport systems are thus the outcome of a long evolution marked
by periods of rapid changes where new transport technologies were adopted.
Following the industrial revolution in the 19th century, transportation
systems were mechanized with the development of steam engine technology,
which permitted the setting of networks servicing regions. This process
was further expanded in the 20th century with the setting of global air
transport, container shipping and telecommunication networks. The
impacts of transport on the spatial structure became multiscalar. Transportation systems are composed of a complex set of relationships
between the demand, the locations they service and the networks that
support movements. Such conditions are closely related to the development
of transportation networks, both in capacity and in spatial extent.
Future transportation systems will likely be shaped by the same
forces than in the past but it remains to be seen which technologies
will prevail and what will be their impacts on the structure.
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