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Human civilization is, in many ways, the result of a raucous process of migrations, transformations and transferences. Rapid economic progress, robust international trade and transportation technology have spurred massive increases in trade. It is the same with tourism across international borders. Oceans and continents are no longer barriers but are now avenues.  The rapid growth of multimodal transport has also contributed to the increase in trade.

Recent statistics bear witness to the effects of transportation technology. The value of merchandise exports rose to a staggering US$17.73 trillion between 2016 and 2017. It is a sum unimaginable a few decades ago.  Tourism also registered an impressive expansion over the same period. It grew by around seven percent as international tourist arrivals reached some $1.32 billion across the globe. This is according to a report issued by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Multimodal Transport: The Freedom of Movement

Clearly, transportation technology and multimodal transport have combined to encourage better trade opportunities. It also aims at increasing the mobile populations.  Freedom of movement has invigorated both cultural exchange and commercial enterprise.  And mobility has become key to any nation’s progress and economic prosperity.

transportation technology
Experts believe that communications will play an important role in the developments in transportation technology.

Where shipment is concerned, the capability to combine different means of transport so cargo could be facilitated more efficiently is an innovation embodied by multimodal transport.

The rise of a new development paradigm has directed greater public attention to the need to improve the transportation technology in virtually every corner of the world.  In Singapore, for instance, transportation technology has become vital to the continued growth of the local economy. The country’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system has blossomed into one of the most reliable and extensive railway networks in Southeast Asia.  Such are the economic benefits that brought by the system that the Singaporean government has embarked on.  The public works on the MRT network may last until the end of the coming decade.

Development experts in India, too, have begun to realize the tremendous economic benefits of an efficient, well-maintained national transportation technology.  The world’s third largest economy depends on improved public transportation to fuel its progress.

Amitabh Kant quoted
Economic growth is partly dependent on a nation’s transportation system.

Transportation Technology of Caltrain

The rapid growth of public transport infrastructure throughout much of the world has highlighted the necessity of transparency and well-organized information dissemination.  This need is perhaps illustrated best in California’s Caltrain system. It is the fastest and most low-cost way to travel between San Francisco and San Jose.  But while the transportation technology is state-of-the-art, long boarding times and service interruptions limit its utility for many would-be commuters. Some Caltrain staff claimed that 66 percent of the railway system’s delays are due to issues like passengers carrying bicycles onto the trains.

Modern communications and transportation technology has begun to provide a solution.  Startups are now working to improve transparency for the Caltrain railway network.  For now, the goal is to use crowdsourcing data in an effort to move ticketing operations the calculation of fares to the smartphone.  In all, the fledgling companies have made remarkable progress.  Mobile apps like Interphone LLC’s Caltrain can now automatically plan the most efficient trips possible for commuters along the Caltrain route.   More effective mobile communications might even help inform passengers about relevant public transport rules and policies – such as those concerning the transport of bicycles along the system, if so designed.

The Silk Road: Communications and Transparency

Communications and transparency will no doubt play a crucial role in the success of China’s ambitious and much-publicized  Belt-and-Road Initiative (BRI).  The sprawling vision behind the effort connects Asia, China, and Europe along with several integrated transport systems. The ultimate aim is both formidable and multi-pronged: to boost economic progress, promote sustainable growth, and improve economic relations among contributing nations.

Communications will no doubt perform a critical function in the colossal endeavor, and the world knows it.  The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has declared that – in order to achieve its objectives — the BRI must make full use of modern information and communications technology (ICT). This will improve transparency and connectivity between participating nations and peoples.

“In addition, ICT contributes directly and indirectly to economic, social and environmental aspects of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG),” reports UNESCAP.

Today, more than ever, geography is an influence rather than a restraint. Communications and transportation technology have therefore stepped onto the center stage. National wealth is ever more derived from the effects of mobility and real-time communications.

True, human culture and economic development may be said to be an impossible blend. But true also is the fact that with national progress comes the building of an identity in progress – one that is, let us hope in most cases, more confident, more optimistic, and more efficiently geared for new ways of doing business, new methods to cross time and distance, new means of communication.

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