Development of Transport


    SIR ALEXANDER GIBB devoted the main part of his presidential address to the Institution of Civil Engineers, delivered on November 3, to an account of some of the works of civilization for which engineers and engineering?in the widest sense?have been responsible. Dealing first with means of transport, he said that the age of roads has now returned. More than 1,000,000 miles of modern roads serve the Empire; that this is still only the beginning is clear from the fact that in Kenya, out of 10,500 miles, only 723 have a metalled surface, the remainder being earth-roads impassable after heavy rain, and in the 370,000 square miles of Nigeria, more than half the 15,000 miles of road are fair-weather roads only. What is required is road planning on really Imperial lines, and the social and political effects would be tremendous. Railway construction in the Empire dated from the middle of the last century. In 1850 Canada had 66 miles of railway; she has now 43,000 miles. With the railways came the steamship era. While the commercial application of the aeroplane has not yet been developed very far, Sir Alexander mentioned that it was almost wholly by ‘ air transport that the New Guinea goldfields and various gold and copper mines in northern Canada were opened up. In New Guinea, all the machinery and parts for two large dredgers and a hydro-electric plant of several thousand horse-power were carried wholly by aeroplane over a range of mountains 5,000 ft. high into the interior, and then assembled and put to work within a year.

    Rights and permissions

    Reprints and Permissions

    About this article

    Cite this article

    Development of Transport. Nature 138, 794 (1936).

    Download citation


    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.