Abstract 3/2020

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Andrzej Krych – Conceptual vision of the tram in a historical development process



Andrzej Krych

Conceptual vision of the tram in a historical development process

Abstract: The article presents the history of the formation of contemporary tramway networks from the beginning of progress in track formation, through the problems of constructing rail vehicles, search for optimal propulsion, place of rail transport in urban transport networks to the great crash in American tramway networks. The essence of innovation is not only technology, but the economic, legal, material and political environment. In the process of development, many alternative possibilities are created. However, at every stage of development, rail transport has used its energetic qualities thanks to the intuition and imagination of inventors, experimenters and manufacturers. They were supported by a combination of many circumstances, but also by obstacles resulting from the inertia of existing legal, economic and political structures. In the review of the most important events, their background is important: links between innovators, the flow of innovation in the world, legal and economic conditions, costs and benefits of intervention, local and external conditions.  The last chapter of the described history includes an analysis of the regression and collapse of global tramway expansion half a century ago. The rationale for this crisis is far broader than its contemporary narration.  They allow us to reflect on whether the contemporary world, and ourselves in it, has drawn some conclusions from it and whether we can reverse the course of events.

Key words: history of transport, public transport, tramway, innovation