Traffic and land transportation in and near Rome

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There are many ways to measure population increase and its impact on the infrastructure of cities, but perhaps the most graphic example is seen in photographs and films of roads congested with stationary vehicles. These images are all too familiar to inhabitants of the modern metropolis, whether they live in Lagos, Los Angeles, London or Rome. Population growth was a feature of life in ancient Rome with regular increases of population postulated right through to at least the end of the first century ad (see Chapter 2). An aspect of living in Rome was a sense in which the streets of one's youth were increasingly congested by one's old age. The history of the metropolis in the modern world has been one that is entwined with the development of new technologies of transport that were not available in ancient Rome. In the nineteenth century, railways spread the metropolis over a larger geographical area. The following century saw a new emphasis on a planned metropolis that linked population growth to the development of transport infrastructure. However, the rates of population growth in the metropoles of Latin America, Asia and Africa in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries outpaced any attempt to develop the transport infrastructure. As a result, although we can identify limited planning in cities such as Lagos and a level of congestion that most westerners find astonishing, congestion of itself does not cause a city to cease to function. A traffic jam can be an inconvenience to those wishing to move from A to B, but it is an opportunity for traders wishing to sell goods and services to these stationary travellers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge companion to
Subtitle of host publicationancient Rome
EditorsPaul Erdkamp
Place of PublicationNew York, USA
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781139025973
ISBN (Print)9780521896290
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


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