Main Technological Advances in Transportation and Telecommunication

Main Technological Advances in Transportation and Telecommunication

Source: Adapted from Prentice, B.E. and D. Prokop (2016) Concepts of Transport Economics, Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.

Major innovations in transport and telecommunications allowed for additional economic and social opportunities. Innovations do not diffuse uniformly, implying that areas of the first introduction tend to derive substantial benefits, which can result in spatial inequalities. This was particularly the case for transport and telecommunication technologies that emerged through the industrial revolution in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. They allowed what came to be known as the developed world to leap rapidly towards high living standards. Only in the latter part of the 20th century, that developing economies, particularly in East Asia were able to catch up.

In recent years, it is more the telecommunication and information technology sectors that drove advances in transportation. Particularly, they allow better matching between the transport supply and demand. Since they are less capital intensive and ubiquitous, information technologies can diffuse rapidly across populations, even those with a lower income.