Rivers were the first major means of travel and transport of goods. This resulted in larger cities being located near rivers or lakes. As railroads were developed, they mostly replaced rivers as a means of travel and transport. Some of the river towns suffered as a result. Cities along railroads became the new hubs of industry.
For many decades, highways replaced rivers and rails as the new means of travel and transport. Cities on major highways became the new hubs of industry.
As technology has downsized our lives, we’re no longer transporting the physical ‘things’ we once had delivered by trucks such as books, newspapers, magazines, printer paper, pens, office supplies, music CDs, DVDs, postal mail, etc. Many ‘things’ are now in digital form. So, physical proximity to rivers, rails, and roads has become less relevant.
Many people are telecommuting, being able to work from anywhere. Today’s computers and other technologies now fit in a shirt pocket or in a hand bag and no longer weigh 30 pounds or require a desk to place them on.
Because of these developments, trails and bicycling are the future of travel and transport.