The Industrial Revolution in the 19th century saw a number of inventions fundamentally change transport. With telegraphy, communication became instant and independent of transport. The invention of the steam engine, closely followed by its application in rail transport, made land transport independent of human or animal muscles. Both speed and capacity increased rapidly, allowing specialization through manufacturing being located independent of natural resources. The 19th century also saw the development of the steam ship, that sped up global transport.
With the development of the combustion engine and the automobile at the turn into the 20th century, road transport became more viable, allowing the introduction of mechanical private transport. The first highways were constructed during the 19th century with macadam. Later, tarmac and concrete became the dominant paving material. In 1903, the first controllable airplane was invented, and after World War I, it became a fast way to transport people and express goods over long distances.
After World War II, the automobile and airlines took higher shares of transport, reducing rail and water to freight and short-haul passenger. Spaceflight was launched in the 1950s, with rapid growth until the 1970s, when interest dwindled. In the 1950s, the introduction of containerization gave massive efficiency gains in freight transport, permitting globalization. International air travel became much more accessible in the 1960s, with the commercialization of the jet engine. Along with the growth in automobiles and motorways, this introduced a decline for rail and water transport. After the introduction of the Shinkansen in 1964, high-speed rail in Asia and Europe started taking passengers on long-haul routes from airlines.
Early in U.S. history, most aqueducts, bridges, canals, railroads, roads, and tunnels were owned by private joint-stock corporations. Most such transportation infrastructure came under government control in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, culminating in the nationalization of inter-city passenger rail service with the creation of Amtrak. Recently, however, a movement to privatize roads and other infrastructure has gained some ground and adherents.