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One of the key challenges we face as a species in the 21st century is how to co-exist with nature in a sustainable manner whilst maintaining our way of life and extending these benefits across the developing world. This basic tension affects every area of our modern way of life, but none more so than transport. We live in a time of unprecedented technological progress, with colossal investment in clean transport technologies – but there is a significant risk that in a rush towards technological change we neglect the big picture. To fully understand the scale and importance of the challenge that confronts us we need to consider the profound impact that transport has already had on our way of life.
In the developed world we have had the benefit of affordable transport for several hundred years, and for the last hundred years this has been enabled by the internal combustion engine. This is the prime mover that provided the affordable power that shaped the 20th century. The most obvious examples of this can be seen in motor cars, goods vehicles, construction machinery and agricultural machinery. Because the arrival of affordable power predates most of us it is hard to understand just how profound the societal changes that were set in motion by this revolution have been.
Today - Aspect - Way - Life - Ease
Today, every aspect of our way of life is enabled or shaped by the ease in which we can travel between towns and cities, carrying our families and possessions with us. This has enabled a fundamental shift in the way we live, building new houses in suburbs and rural communities while working, learning and engaging in recreation in towns and cities that would have been largely inaccessible only a century before. Our food is grown on an industrial scale and transported along with manufactured goods...
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