10. The Future of Transportation

The transportation needs of society evolve with time to reflect changing customer tastes, technological advances, and geopolitical/legislative climates. This chapter investigates this issue using the example of arguably one of the most successful and historic transportation channels of all time, the trans-Asian silk route (see Figure 10-1). Extending 4,000 miles across the continent of Asia and into parts of Europe, the silk route got its name from the lucrative trade in Chinese silk, which was a highly valuable commodity throughout Europe between the years 100 and 1400. Land-based transportation was achieved by moving extensive cargo on the backs of pack animals; water-based transport occurred by moving large ...

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