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We are in the era where most of the people in the globe believe that life will not only be difficult, but will also be impossible without the advanced transport that we have. In contrast, people before the introduction of horse buggy, Hanson cab, bicycle and other more, were enjoying life without feeling the need of transport. One might argue that it is because people were able to access anything they needed for their daily survival within a working distance. And hence their settlement settings were compact as oppose with our segregated and fragmented settlement pattern. This view is correct, but does it means that as we continue developing more fragmented and segregated settlements, we will need some improvement and changes in our transportation system. Consequently, this paper aims at investigating, if not evaluating whether South Africa and world are at the cusp of new technological s-curve in transportation.2. Historical Development of Transport
The world in the eighteen century witnessed the introduction of water and animals transport. These modes of transport were introduced to play a role in transporting goods and particularly agricultural goods. According to Clark (1958:239) in the Ancient and Medieval cities to “transport goods in a kilometer was costing one kilogram of grain”. He further pointed out that water transport was significant mode of transport in the Ancient and Medieval cities.
The paper by Clark (1958:241) outlined that in the late eighteenth China, Holland and France introduced canals transport to their cities. But the introduction of Canal did not fully substitute water transport, due to the fact that water transport could able to cover a long distance, moreover water in some cases was a barrier for canal transport to operate efficient and effective. In 1840s and 1850s we witnessed an introduction of railways and steamships. These modes of transport facilitated the broke up of the old self-sufficient village (Clark.1958:243). In additionally, Clark (1958:243) pointed out that railway and steam ships played a role in “re-arrangement of agricultural production on the basis of regional specialization and rapid development of heavy industry”. Nevertheless, the introduction of railway and steam ships did not fully replace animal transport. This emanate from the fact that animals were still used to move goods few miles away from railway.
After the introduction of railways and steam ships it was the introduction of motor transport, which contributed significant in perpetuating more geographical specialization. Most of industries benefited from the introduction of motor cars, this benefit emanated from the quick transportation of goods, in contracts to animal transport. Clark point out that motor car had advantage of transporting goods and people in short journeys, while rail had advantage of transporting in a long distance.
From this section one can deduce that all the discussed phases of transport development are about the first stage of the transport life cycle. This assumption or reasoning is being substantiated by the following reason or rather arguments: firstly, one can see that each mode of transport was supplemented by a completely different one. This tells us that transport engineers, planners and others did not reach a point of satisfactory of one mode of transport, and therefore, they were still more concern about what should be the best mode of transport. Hence, according to the first stage is about what should the design be like, and what will be its maker (doriot.1987:45)? Hence, Levinson pointed out that “the period of birth is one of possibility, many new technologies and networks are conceived, yet few are realized. There is an explosion of possible evolutionary paths, yet only one is taken”
3. Evidence of the Present Location along the S-Curve of Car Highway Technology
We are in the era where we have advanced and sophisticated mode of transport highways technology as oppose to previous ere. We have cars with seat belts, airbags and safety cages, and some of the cars can literally tells that you car is about to collide with other car or other things. Most of the transport that we have is so effectively and efficiently in respect of the speed they cover per hour. Not to mention the sophisticate of public transport and highways, we have underground and light rail system that is free from traffic congestion and according to experts they have little impact to the environment. Moreover, we have air transport which is the most efficient form of transport, yet is the most expensive mode of transport.
Nevertheless, we are in the era of more car accidents, high rate of traffic congestion and the traffic jam is now too bad in such a way that people every year they experience an increase in average time they spend travelling to work and other activities, while the distance covered it remains constantly, and everyone is complaining about being stuck in the traffic jam. And, in additional there is any increase concern about carbon emission from cars.
The above two paragraphs tells us that we are in the era of improvement and advancement in transport technology, yet we do not experience the benefits of the improvements. Doriot (1987) “Today transportation system is standardized and pretty well developed”. “As a system transitions from youth to maturity, both product and process of technology production are standardized”. “In today’s situation we are dealing with mature systems”. “Our transportation system is mature” (Eberts)4. We In Need Of Moving To the New Technology
It is been more than 60 years of investment in transportation system, and the ultimate purpose is to improve transportation (automated highway system). These improvements includes: contraction of additional highways segments, rail lines, bus terminal capacity using traditional technology, conversion of existing two lanes road to a four lanes and other more (James. 2003). However, people still experience high traffic congestion, increase in average time spend on road, increase in length or duration of traffic jams and the investment in transport is been associated with economic recession and depression (Levinson.2000 and Schutter et al. 1999)
From the above paragraph one can deduce that the last phase (maturity) is no longer working effective and efficient for use. This implies that the society is in need of the new system or phase if it really wants to reduce traffic congestion and length or duration of traffic jams, minimize average traveling time, and to have transport system that will trigger investment and jobs. Hence, Levinson cemented or supported this agreement by pointing out that “because the system is mature, there little additional to be gained (by the existing system) from technological advances, advances will rock the boat and move the status quo, with which most players are comfortable. Of course change does eventually occur, but it is often the “next new thing” rather than a modification of the network in place”.
5. Opportunities For and Barriers against Making New Transaction
According to Doroit (1987) and Levinson it take approximately 60 years for transport system to run from birth to maturity. One needs to note that the first phase is about discovering and exploring new technology. This means that it will take probable more than 15 years for the new system to actual provide benefits. Hence, Adner and Kapoor (2010:26) are arguing that one of the barriers for making the new transaction emanate from the fact that “new transaction will be imperfect at launch, such that adoption would be delayed until after significant improvements could be achieve”.
Looking at the transactions that had take place in transport one can deduce that the transactions were about improving and change the functionality of the older modes. For example: motor car was firstly introduced as a substitute to animal transport because it has advantages of transporting goods and people fast as compare to animal transport. We are in an era where the transport industry is being faced with vast challenges which cannot be solved with single answer. The current challenges might be one of the barriers for making this transaction, as each and every new transaction should be “able to resolve all the older technology challenges in order to achieve its commercial potential” (Adner and Kapoor 2010:9).
Lastly, we are living in a dynamic world in which we are faced vast number of challenges that are facing the society, such as HIV/AIDS, poverty, stimulating economic growth, global warming and other more. And therefore it will be difficult to establish enough funds to fund the new transaction of transport technology that will have long term benefits. Hence, Wetmore (2003:14) pointed out that the costs of introducing a new technological system are very high. On the orther side (Adner and Kapoor 2010:26) are arguing that “the new technological transaction might involve cost of user learning or the extent to which the destroy users existing capability”.