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Effects of technology on transportation

Technology is a general term referring to the processes by which human beings fashion tools and machines to increase their control and understanding of the material environment. Over the years historians of science argue that not only technology is an essential condition of advanced, industrial civilization but also that the rate of technological changes has developed its own momentum in recent centuries.

Innovations now seem to appear at a rate that increases geometrically, without respect to geographical limits or political systems. These innovations tend to transform traditional cultural systems, frequently with unexpected social consequences. Thus the technology can be conceived as both a creative and a destructive process.

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Moving on to the effect of technology on transportation it was noticed that right from the middle ages innovations in transportation revolutionized the spread of technologies and ideas across wide areas. Such devices as the horseshoe, the whiffle tree (i.e for harnessing animals to wagons effectively), and the spring carriage speeded the transfer of people and goods. Important changes also took place in marine technology.

The development of the deep keel, the triangular lateen sail for greater maneuverability, and the magnetic compass (in the 13th century) made sailing ships the most complex machines of the age. A school was established by Prince Henry of Portugal to teach navigators how to use these machines effectively. Perhaps more than did Copernicus’s astronomical theories, Prince Henry’s students changed humanity’s perception of the world. Today we have advanced to such an extent that we never imagined in early centuries, whether it’s the wheel, the jet engine, or the computer chip.

Nowadays transportation not only means technology but a system of technology, people, energy, money, and more, advancement in technology play a key role in shaping transportation systems, which in turn help to shape our lives, landscapes, and culture. Because transportation is so important to commerce, as in literally and figuratively because of which so much is dependent on it, it has been the focus of an enormous amount of inventive activity. Corporations have invested billions of dollars in improved technology. Individuals have sought their fortunes in breakthroughs big and small.

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There are some technological advancements that have undergone drastic improvement over the years. Transportation technology can be divided into 4 types of mechanized systems available today. LAND, AIR, SEA.


Old were the times when people had to use animal-powered vehicles or mechanized human-powered vehicles (MHP’s) such as bicycles, ski blades which needed immense human effort to move from one place to the other. Today the invention of automated human-powered Systems or (AHP’s) effortlessly yet efficiently allows the transport of people and goods at a faster rate and is less time-consuming too. AHP’s include mechanized systems such as cars, two-wheelers, trucks, trams, monorails, and trains. These AHP’s soon got popular and were also known as the commonest mode of transportation since most of the population needed to travel to short vicinities and found these mechanized systems very useful. After quite some time a noticeable environmental problem arose which was of great concern as it was said to aggregate the process of global warming.

The reason for this problem was the exhaust produced from the combustion of fuel inside these AHP’s which were having a high content of Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Oxides of Nitrogen and lead compounds, which in excess is undesirable and could prove harmful to the environment. Carefully studying this problem, researchers at Harvard University were able to develop a hybrid series of the mechanized systems which use wood or electric current as fuel. These new vehicles were proven to be efficient and comparable to normal vehicles which run on diesel (petrol) but turned out to be expensive it was mainly because of the newly developed engine which was sophisticated.


Since the invention of the first steamboat in 1807 by Robert Fulton, the development of AHP’s for water terrain seemed highly speculative. This mode of transportation also was noticed to be vital in olden days since there was no option available rather than this to travel to great vicinities such as country to country. Today different types of water transport exist such as ships, rafts, passenger liners, ferries, hydrofoils (hovercrafts), steamboats, yachts, etc. Each type of mechanized system exists for different purposes an ideal example would be comparing yachts and passenger liners.

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Yachts are mainly used for entertainment or leisure purposes only whereas passenger liners are used extensively for massive transportation of goods and people too long vicinities. In the olden days it was noticed that mechanized systems made for water terrain lacked comfort, that is it was not possible to travel at ease due to the absence of facilities that were quite necessary such as restrooms, food and health services.

Today, with the use of technology there has been a wide range of improvement seen with passenger liners and many other systems, main of which is the star cruise series which now offer 22 ships with 35,000 berths. Almost all types of services are available onboard this ship allowing the travellers to reach their destination with ease of feeling at home. The ship is also integrated with a self-assisted GPS system which allows the officials to track the location in emergency situations or when necessary, this ship is also said to have an autopilot function that works with destination available routes available 24 hrs via 32mx satellite link.


The modern aircraft that we come across every day is a common mode of air transport. It was not later than the invention of the first aircraft by the Wright Brothers that development started to take place rapidly. In the present the Boeing’s and Airbuses that we see are an advanced version of the earlier aircraft. Initially, Bernoulli’s Principle was the most important factor in allowing an aircraft to leave the ground, his principle stated that “to bring in an airlift, the pressure on the bottom of the wing should be higher than on the top, therefore, creating a pressure difference to produce an upward thrust “.

Following this principle earlier aircraft were modelled but didn’t prove to be efficient enough as not much thrust was produced during experimentation whereas now due to advancement in technology we cross better structures with greater efficiency. An example would be the Airbus A380 which is said to have implemented the latest of technologies throughout to provide a safer and comfortable journey. The wings of this aircraft are said to be made of Carbon-fibre reinforced plastic, glass-fibre reinforced plastic and quartz-fibre reinforced plastic and additional weight to provide extra stability for a safer and powerful lift off.

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The aircraft is also said to employ Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) architecture which was first used in military aircrafts such as raptor F-22, Eurofighter typhoon. This system consists of an Integrity-178B Operating System and dedicated software housed in onboard processor modules and servers are connected to data communication networks using Avionics Full-Duplex Switched Ethernet with a star topology to communicate with the base station with the option of connecting to 15 satellites on the go with military satellite options in case of emergency. The server present onboard aircraft assist the pilot efficiently by automatically performing calculations, showing navigation options rather than olden times where they had to refer to paper charts, manual booklets and handhelds.

This aircraft is equipped with an A380-841 Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine which incorporating swept fan technology and provides a more than needed thrust with efficiency. Talking about all of this now, we now wonder how far we have reached with the help of technology within no time. What is clear is technology will continue to change transportation and transportation will continue to change our lives.

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Effects of technology on transportation. (2021, Sep 28). Retrieved March 22, 2023, from