The technology, capacity, and performance of freight transportation systems have changed radically over the past 200 years. Table 3 summarizes the major eras in US freight transportation as the nation moved from the use of water transportation to rail to trucks. In the 1980s, deregulation shaped freight transportation, while more recently, computers and information technology have become dominate forces. Technology has allowed shippers and carriers the ability to closely monitor and coordinate production, supply chain, and transportation operations. These trends have reduced the barriers between freight transportation modes, and refocused attention on overall trip performance.
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