Today public transportation is one of the most important parts in a city plan and the means for millions of people to get where they are going. It is also the by far most environmentally friendly way to get around and although it might be uncomfortable at times most people say that is worth it in the end, both economically and environmentally.
Public transportation – What is it?
Most of the inhabitants of the earth know what public transportation is in their specific area, subways, trams and busses but there are probably just a few that can define exactly what public transportation is. Public transportation is a shared vehicle where none of the travellers actually is the one that controlling it. Obviously the bus driver is a traveller but he, or she, is actually not going anywhere specific in the same way as the passengers are, the bus driver drives because it is his designated job to do so. With this definition also scheduled airplanes, ferries and trains is a part of the public transportation, it is simply a question of how closely you look.
Public transportation – History
Ever since the first ferry service was established there has been public transportation since the ferryman’s job was to transport people from one shore to another without ever stepping off himself unless the working day was over. This kind of public transportation even became a part of the Greek mythology as the ferryman Charon was the only one to take people over the river Acheron from the mortal world to the home of Hades. Slowly stagecoaches began to emerge as a means for public transportation and were a well known fact in the 17th century, delivering mail and transporting passengers between towns. It was not until 1826 though that the first organized public transit system met the eyes of the world as Nantes in France had the first omnibus travelling on a fixed route. From then on the public transportation grew into what it is today.
Public transportation – Today
Today organized public transit systems are made up by a whole lot of vehicles and although the vehicles have not changed much, a bus is still a bus even though it becomes bigger, faster and more effective. Today’s problem with public transportation is instead in understanding the dynamics underneath the public transportation. Statistics, mathematical theories and simple common sense is combined in an effort to make public transportation as cheap, effective and environmentally friendly as possible and although it might seem as an easy task it really is not. It is a though job predicting how millions of people will use the public transportation service over the course of a whole year.
Public transportation – Tomorrow
During all of this time most of the non-electrical means for public transportation has been fuelled with diesel but because of the recent discussions about ending the dependency of oil new vehicles for public transportation has come to life. Most of these are only prototypes but are very interesting experiments when it comes to finding a new propulsion system for vehicles heavier than an ordinary car. Fuel cells, batteries, natural gas and hybrid solutions are all in trials and it is only in the future it will be clear which new kind of propulsion system that will prove most effective.