Travel Time between London and the Rest of the World, 1914

Travel Time between London and the Rest of the World, 1914

Source: Map by John G. Bartholomew, An Atlas of Economic Geography (1914), London: Oxford University Press.

By the early 20th century, a global system of maritime and rail routes has been established, but the connectivity and accessibility it provided were far from being uniform. This lack of uniformity reflected economic and political imperatives. At that time the British Empire was dominant with an extensive network of maritime shipping services. London could, therefore, be considered as the most connected and accessible location in the world.

The above map provides isochronic distances from London classified in the number of travel days. These distances are reflective of existing services and inland transport infrastructures. For instance, the Suez Canal provided improved accessibility to South Asia while the effects of the Panama Canal (completed the same year) were not yet apparent. Continental differences are notable as North America with its extensive rail network is well connected, a spatial reach that was not available at that time in South America and Africa. Also apparent is the trans-Siberian railway providing significant accessibility benefits in central Asia.