Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Archive for the tag “transportation cost”

Travel cost by stagecoach in 1870s – part one

What did it cost to travel by stagecoach from San Diego to Los Angeles in 1871?  How does that compare to today?

The Seeley Stable Museum and Wells Fargo Museum in Old Town, San Diego offer fun examples of 1800s transportation. Carretas, cargo wagons, Mud Wagon stagecoaches, and Concord stagecoaches.

I picked up a lot of fun information while touring those museums a while back.

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Subsidy to construct the transcontinental railroad

An exhibit at the Huntington Library called Visions of Empire: The Quest for a Railroad Across America, 1840-1880 had a comment describing payments from the government to railroad companies to assist in constructing the transcontinental railroad:

  • $16,000 per mile on easy grades
  • $32,000 per mile for the high plains
  • $48,000 per mile in the mountains

Lots of money at the time, but a bargain considering how much it helped the economy develop.

Impact on travel time from the transcontinental railroad and average transportation speeds

An exhibit at the Huntington Library called Visions of Empire: The Quest for a Railroad Across America, 1840-1880 had a display describing coast-to-coast travel time:

  • 6 months – before the trans-continental railroad. ( I think that was before the stage coach lines were in place.)
  • 1 week – after the railroad was completed

Twenty-six weeks versus one week. That would be a 96% reduction in travel time.

The exhibit also had a display listing the average speed of travel in miles per hour:

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Travel time and cost in the Roman Empire

Stanford has an awesome site that shows time and cost to travel in the Roman Empire. You can find it at

ORBIS – The Stanford Geosptial Network Model of the Roman World

If you’ve read my blogs for a while, you know I am a member of the Protestant tradition of the Christian faith community.  As a result, the Roman Empire is of interest, since that was the occupying power in Israel during the New Testament period.

You also know I am interested the impact of technology on the cost of everything, including travel.

You can only imagine what a delight it is to find a web site that overlaps travel costs and the Roman Empire.

Here is a description of ORBIS from its website:

Spanning one-ninth of the earth’s circumference across three continents, the Roman Empire ruled a quarter of humanity through complex networks of political power, military domination and economic exchange. These extensive connections were sustained by premodern transportation and communication technologies that relied on energy generated by human and animal bodies, winds, and currents.

Conventional maps that represent this world as it appears from space signally fail to capture the severe environmental constraints that governed the flows of people, goods and information. Cost, rather than distance, is the principal determinant of connectivity.

For the first time, ORBIS allows us to express Roman communication costs in terms of both time and expense. By simulating movement along the principal routes of the Roman road network, the main navigable rivers, and hundreds of sea routes in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and coastal Atlantic, this interactive model reconstructs the duration and financial cost of travel in antiquity.

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Cost of crossing Atlantic on Titanic expressed in wages of the time

I’m taking a meandering trip to look at the cost to cross the Atlantic in 1912 versus 2012.

Previous post looked at the ticket prices for various classes of accommodations on the Titanic and salaries for a variety of positions at the time.

I converted some of those weekly salary numbers into annual amounts and then lined up the positions in terms of which class of accommodations people would likely take.  This shows the number of weeks salary it would take to buy a ticket on Titanic.

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Titanic exhibit in San Diego – dollars and time to cross the Atlantic

While taking some vacation time in San Diego this past weekend, my wife and I went to the Titanic exhibit hosted by the San Diego Natural History Museum. It was fantastic! By the way, the exhibit runs through September 9, 2012 if you are interested.

I plan to use the Titanic as a reference point for change in transportation costs. That idea struck me very strongly on this short vacation in San Diego.

The best starting point for the exhibit is a blog post at Well Heeled Blog. A quick read of the blog and related Facebook page shows the author wishes to remain anonymous.

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