Trucks and Trains Transportation

Subject: Technology
Type: Argumentative Essay
Pages: 4
Word count: 1210
Topics: Transportation, World War 1, World War 2


Ideally, modes of transport are method used to differentiate various ways of movement. The modes are land transport (rail, off-road, and road transport), water transport, and air transport. For the case of this paper truck, and train as a mode of transport is discussed.

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History of the train as a mode of transport

Basically, the history of the current train can be backdated for the last 2000 years ago. For example, the first train was a steam train invented in 1800 in England. The train was able to pull over 70 people, and 25 tons of iron covering a distance of 10 miles. Moreover, after the steam train, they were powered by diesel fuel, and electricity (Wolmar, 2012). During this time, train form an important mode of transport in the U.S.A (1810-1815). It was the time of industrial revolution, where the shipment of hogs, grains, and cattle was made easy. During this time the U.S.A moved almost 80% of the goods and freight by rail. In this case, the percentage was high since almost 80 % of the Americans farms were within 9km of the railway. By 1850, over 14,000 km railway lines were ready for transportation. The federal government also motivated the initiative by providing land grant system between 1856 and 1872.  The program was good since the many western lines were opened. At this time the percentage had increased to 81% since it had replaced steamboats, canals, and turnpikes.

During this time, the truck transport percentage was 0% but later gained attention during World War 1. At this time, the military was the first to use it, which represented 5 % transportation. The few that existed during this time. Also, a company known as Motor Carriage developed the first trailer truck, but the limitation of roads made the trucks to move between urban areas. The years after the World War 1, there was an advancement in rural areas. For example, the development of diesel engines, which represent 20% transportation percentage. At this time the train had started experiencing competition from trucks. The numbers of freight moved by train dropped to 60% (Wolmar, 2012). Because of this, the Railroad Administration of United state decided to manage the railway to explain the drop and inadequacy in some terminals.

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In addition to the Second World War, the Train transportation percentage continue dropping since there was serious completion from trucks and airlines. Truck transportation was the major competitor because the freight business had shifted to roads. The main factor that leads to the fall of the percentage was regulation of railroad rate. In the 1970s and 1980s, the truck transport percentage had hit 40%. The truck industry was on the rise since there was deregulation of some laws. In this case, there was a tremendous increase truck operation. However, Train industry continue to fall in the 1970s, and 1980s they also tried to remove the regulation, but the strategy lead to closure of some important routes. Therefore, their transport percentage dropped to 30% since fewer lines had remained. For example, Canadian National, and Pacific, and the Union Pacific.

Current transportation percentage for Truck and Train.

In regards to current train transportation, port agencies, the federal government, and the many railroads started reinvesting in the freight rail in the 21 century (Meyer, 2016). There was an improvement in the tunnel, bridges, and intermodal terminals. All these were done to increase the efficiency and capacity of the rail system, but the state was unable to succeed in the project. This lead to a decrease in transportation percentage of both freight and passenger. For example, the improvements that were done by the federal money in Ohio and Florida states were unsuccessful. It is because the high-speed rail was stopped by the Republican governors. On the other hand, the current transportation percentage for trucking industry has been shooting. For example, in 2006 the American roads had over 25 million trucks for freight movement. This was equivalent to 10 million freight, which represents 70% of the passenger, and freight volume (Meyer, 2016).

Furthermore, at the moment the number of trucks that operate in the U.S around 15.5 million tracks, which incorporate 2 million tractor-trailers. In this case, it means that the number of truckers are also many, roughly 3.4 million. Based on this number, the majority are owners of their trucks while 1% of the numbers are independent. Also, the companies of truck industry available in the US are 1.1 million. From the number, 91 % operate 6, while 96 % operate 20. In regards to all these truckers and companies, the volume of freight transported has increased to 70 %. This account for $296 billion of goods transported to Canada, $195.7 transported to Mexico annually, and $674 billion of goods manufactured and transported locally in the U.S.A.

The 2050 expectations

In regards to Transportation percentage of the truck by 2050, the technology will have move ahead. The improvement will be based on binary powers and frictionless vehicles (Petroski, 2016). Throughout the history, it is evident that the primary driving forces are control and freedom the vehicles. Therefore, drivers and truckers are important in the determination of future transportation in the U.S.A. In this case, the hypothesis of where we will be in 2050, people will be able to speak or punch a button to control where they want to go (Petroski, 2016). The strategy will create an opportunity for the both the physical and visually impaired, young and old to drive. Because of these, the number of truck vehicles and drivers will increase, leading to an increase in transport percentage say 90%.

In regards to Transportation percentage of the train by 2050, the U.S.A seems to be experiencing slow improvements in the sector of rail transport. It is because there are a lot of regulations. If deregulation could happen quickly, then improvements happening in Texas will have to create impact by 2050. For example, if the Freight Shuttle system concept can be implemented, then freights and goods will be moved easily between cities (Petroski, 2016). However, the number will still be low because the congestion of road transport will have moved ahead, limiting their expansion. In this case, their percentage will still be around 20% to 30%.

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It is clear that the history of rail transport started way back in 1800, while truck transport began during World War 1. During this time the U.S.A moved almost 80% of the goods and freight by rail, while the percentage that was moved by trucks was 5%. However, the road transport improved so fast and became the top in freight transportation. Currently, the U.S.A is transporting 70% of the freight goods using trucks and merely 25% using trains. Therefore, the hypothesis of where we will be in 2050, is that people will be able to speak or punch a button to control where they want to go. The strategy will create an opportunity for the both the physical and visual impaired, young and old to drive. Because of these, the number of truck vehicles and drivers will increase, leading to an increase in transport percentage say 90%. The case of the train will be the opposite, the percentage will reduce to even 20%.

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  1. Meyer, M. D. (2016). Transportation planning handbook. John Wiley & Sons Inc.
  2. Petroski, H. (2016). The road has taken: The history and future of America’s infrastructure. New York: Bloomsbury.
  3. Wolmar, C. (2012). The great railroad revolution: The history of trains in America. New York: Public Affairs.
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