Transportation and Energy Systems in the U.S.

Nakicenovic, N. ORCID: (1987). Transportation and Energy Systems in the U.S. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-87-001

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The objective of this paper is to assess, on the basis of a number of indicative examples, the time needed to build new and replace old transportation and energy systems, and their infrastructures. Most of the examples are taken from the United States, since the United States has been one of the few countries to experience most of the technological changes that occurred during the last 200 years. However, because most of these technological changes were subsequently disseminated throughout the world, the examples also indicate the dynamics of these processes elsewhere.

Within the scope of this paper, the use of the term infrastructure is rather narrow, referring only to transportation and energy grids and networks, and other components of these two systems. These two systems are interesting because they played a crucial role in the economic and technological development process, are very capital intensive and, in general, have long lifetimes. The analysis of the historical development of these two systems will include a quantitative description of performance improvement, the general evolution of a particular infrastructure, and the replacement of old by new technologies and infrastructures in terms of their relative market shares. We use the term performance as a multidimensional concept (i.e., as a vector rather than a scalar indicator) and, where appropriate, measure the size of an infrastructure as a function of time.

The first section describes the evolution of transport system and their related infrastructures. The analysis starts, somewhat unconventionally, with the youngest technologies, aircraft and airways, and ends with the oldest transport networks -- canals and waterways. The second section describes the evolution of energy consumption and pipelines as an example of dedicated transport infrastructures.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: Dynamics of Technology Program (DOT)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:58
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:13

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