The coordination of transport was a live topic 30 or so years ago when concern was shown at railway losses and their bad effects on the economy of the country. More recently, when much greater losses have been accepted with apparent equanimity, there seemed less interest in the problem. The subject was revived, if only temporarily, by evidence tended to the Royal Commission of Inquiry (1961) on the State Services in New Zealand. This evidence showed differing views on the implications of transport coordination, and at least one witness suggested seriously that coordination was part of the apparatus of the totalitarian State.
In the broadest sense, coordination implies that each of the various forms of transportation has some sphere of usefulness in which it is most efficient. Thus new forms of transport have attracted business from the older and less efficient forms. Horse-drawn transport was partly replaced by the railway and, later, by the motor vehicle; the railway, too, has been partly replaced by the motor vehicle. Air transport presents an ever-growing challenge. The growth of the newer forms means that the old ones have been left with surplus capacity. Successive Governments have considered it wise to ensure that the older forms, in which public money is invested, are given legislative protection. The problem is to decide what are to be the spheres of operation of each form, and so to develop an efficient national transport system with a minimum reliance upon the country's resources.