The Role of Science and Technology in Transport

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Transport needs in the coming years will be growing. Strong emphasis will have to be placed on servicing new patterns of trade and on meeting the requirements of increased activities in agriculture. Expenditures for transport will be large.

In dealing with transport, subject areas are the various modes, the two elements, infrastructure and equipment, and a range of interdependent items including development and construction, operation and maintenance.

The magnitude and complexity of forthcoming transport needs will call for application of powerful and efficient methodologies. Tools of the past will not be sufficient. Skills derived from the current state of science and technology are available and they will have to be used.

Potential applications of science and technology are numerous. Foremost areas so far as infrastructures are concerned are conceptual orientation methods, modelling techniques, various tools for engineering investigations and controlled construction. As far as equipment is concerned, they include materials, tools, expertise and off-the-shelf components. Useful items are available for development, operation and maintenance of transport in all modes.

Some aspects of transport are nevertheless neglected. Science and technology could beneficially target the field of intermediate transport technologies to suit the needs of developing countries and the field of energy where reduced consumption, cheaper energy and cheaper transport techniques should be sought.

Science and technology predominantly yield effective but sophisticated solutions. The use of these solutions in developing countries introduces a risk of increased dependence on the developed world. This risk should, however, be viewed against the advantages of accelerated social and economic development. Proper planning is clearly of the essence.

Science and technology provide a wide range of conceptual, methodological and implementation tools, including tools for eliminating prevailing gaps. Programs are required to identify priorities, mobilize resources and proceed with action.


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