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Transport Coordination

Concluding Thoughts Based on the Case of Switzerland

Vincent Kaufmann

The way public transportation and highway policies are considered in tandem is determinant of how the means of transportation are used, and that policy choices have implications in the middle and long term as they forge path dependence. This paper discuss this issues, using the case of Switzerland—often considered a best-practice country in terms of coordination—to explore the obstacles encountered when transportation policies à la Swiss are "imported" to other countries.

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Andrey Vozyanov

Mobility requires waiting, especially in intermodal transportation systems. People must wait in airports, stations, and vehicles; at bus stops; in queues at registration desks and luggage checks; at boarding; and elsewhere. Waiting is part of the public transportation routine. As Ohmori and Harata report, an average commute time for train commuters in Tokyo is sixty-nine minutes.

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When Roads Cannot Be Used

The Use of Trained Elephants for Emergency Logistics, Off-Road Conveyance, and Political Revolt in South and Southeast Asia

Jacob Shell

This article is about the use of trained Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) for transportation, in particular across muddy or flooded terrain, clandestine off-road transportation, and during guerrilla operations or political revolts. In a sense, these are all in fact the same transport task: the terrestrial conveyance of people and supplies when, due to weather or politics or both, roads cannot be used. While much recent work from fields such as anthropology, geography, history, and conservation biology discusses the unique relationship between humans and trained elephants, the unique human mobilities opened up by elephant-based transportation has been for the most part overlooked as a research topic. Looking at both historical and recent (post–World War II) examples of elephant-based transportation throughout South and Southeast Asia, I suggest here that this mode of transportation has been especially associated with epistemologically less visible processes occurring outside of state-recognized, formal institutions.

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Jessica Lockrem

This essay reviews scholarship which has focused on the bodies and embodied experiences of people moving and being moved. Scholars have long been interested in how physical bodies move through space and how actors perceive space during movement. This attention to embodied experience includes phenomenological engagements with the environment, sensorial perceptions during movement, and emotional entanglements with ways of moving through space. The essay then examines studies of transportation that analyze how gender, class, race, and national identity (and the intersections thereof) affect how a person experiences, uses, and ascribes meaning to modes of transportation. The essay demonstrates that just as experience and subjectivity shape transportation choices, so do transportation choices shape experience and subjectivity.

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Mobilizing Transport

Media, Actor-worlds, and Infrastructures

Gabriele Schabacher

The article deals with the relationship between media and transportation infrastructures and analyzes their links to the concept of mobility. It examines the assumption that infrastructure systems themselves are mobile, in the sense that they develop and have to be maintained constantly. According to such a perspective, they are to be considered not primarily as “structures,“ but as specific processes of mobilization (infrastructuring) that constitute the basis for mobility in the sense of transport and movement. Drawing on historical knowledge of transportation, it will be shown that a broad understanding of traffic as exchange, communication, and transportation has narrowed in the twentieth century, whereby the originally implied idea of transport as transformation became suppressed. Recent approaches in mobility studies, Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) can be combined in a fruitful way to unfold the specific dynamics of infrastructure as a process of mobilization (Callon) and technical mediation (Latour).

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Mimi Sheller and Gijs Mom

Th is issue sheds new light on one of the classic concerns of mobility studies: transitions in forms of personal transportation. Mobility transitions are arguably one of the key issues of the twenty-first century, as societies around the world face the pressing questions of climate change mitigation and adaptation. A better understanding of recent and historical transitions not only in vehicle technologies but also in urban forms could be crucial to guiding future transition dynamics. At the same time, a deeper appreciation of historical transitions in transportation can also inform how we think about the present: what methods we use, what factors we take into consideration, and what theoretical perspectives we employ.

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Vilma Hastaoglou-Martindis

The conditions of peace in Europe after 1815 – with the end of the Napoleonic Wars, along with thriving industrialization, instigated journeys. From the 1840s, the novel means of transportation, railways and steamers, unified geographical space and fuelled a trend of travelling that was to increase exponentially to dimensions of mass tourism by the beginning of the twentieth century.

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Tomás Errázuriz

For countries that are not leaders in modernization and technology, discussions of transportation history frequently conclude by acknowledging insufficient research on this topic. Indeed, this was my first impression when committing to this assignment. Nevertheless, once I started to review and gather material, my findings exceeded my initial expectations.

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Janet R. Bednarek

Aviation inspires far less historical scholarship than other major forms of transportation technology, especially automobiles and trains—and even space travel. In the years leading up to the centennial of powered flight in 2003 there were some efforts by Dom Pisano, Roger Launius and others both to refine and expand the parameters of the field and suggest emerging research questions. Yet aviation history has remained a small subfield within broader areas of interest, such as military, technology, transportation and business history. More recently, to some degree in response to the efforts of Pisano and Launius, work has been done within social, cultural and urban history, and gender studies. So while the field has been and remains hard to pin down, nonetheless interesting—if sometimes isolated—work continues.

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Andra B. Chastain

Nearly three decades ago, a French-trained urban planner remarked that “getting around any Latin American city is a true quotidian feat” for travelers contending with “the subways of Caracas, the packed lines of the Mexico metro, the Santiago journeys without any foreseeable destination, the crammed La Paz truffis [cars with fixed routes], the dangerous Lima micro[buses], and the ups-and-downs of central Quito.” While this description evokes the colorful spectrum of urban mobility in the region, it also sums up the anxieties of many postwar observers of Latin American cities: urban transportation seemed to be in crisis. With vehicle shortages, traffic congestion, air pollution, and sporadic social protests, public transportation tested Latin American metropolises since at least the postwar era.