It’s late and I’m tired and wandering. As I get older I am remembering my friends, and discovering some are gone.
Transportation in Orbit, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 345, No. 1, 130-142 (1963), George Fox Mott:
Transportation has now no geographical frontiers.
Its role is so vital to modern civilization that it has become more than a service function—it has become a partner of the government, the commerce, and the society which it serves and represents the occupation and livelihood of a large section of the population as well.
Having developed piecemeal, it has been subject to patchwork regulation and is uneven in its performance.
By the nature of the dilemmas facing the industry, transportation administration and co-ordination lag far behind transportation technology. This state is critical today, and a renaissance in transportation has been taking place and is on the verge of great acceleration.
Many leaders in transportation areas are active in planning for and carrying out improvements in transportation policy and operation. Many inequities and operational lags need to be corrected.
Common carriers, the backbone of the system, are operating under financial, political, and manpower difficulties. The rivalry of air and highway carriers has faced the railroads with competition which their heavily regulated quasi-public-utility status has not helped them to meet. Full advantage cannot be taken of technological improvements, due to regulations which are now inequitable or inappropriate or simply unworkable or unwieldy. Labor, from an embattled position at the beginning and during the flush period of transportation expansion, has now become an equal protagonist with management in the transportation system.
Transportation labor and management have not yet reached full co-ordination for total utilization of their resources.
Transportation capital has not been freed of its fetters; costing and pricing have become increasingly unrealistic and inoperative in the market place.
Political pressures now carry equal weight with economic and service factors.
Transport leaders in a pool of experience and knowledge are aware of the imperfections of the system, and many of them have sound plans for replacing dislocation and loss with co-ordination, profit, and the full service efficiency the system is capable of offering.
The last time I visited with George Fox Mott was at the great St. Francis Hotel on Union Square in San Francisco during the early 80s convention of the Democratic Party. He had been USA Inspector General of Allied Government in Korea and Japan after World War II, and later the Director of the American-Korean Foundation from 1952 until 1962. We were both on the board of Monorail.
A Good Boston Fellow who had known in his life every Secretary of Transportation ever put in office he liked to say.