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Fast facts on vehicles

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Vehicles and travel

The amount of time that people spend on travel has been consistent at 1,1 hours per person per day in all societies.

Traffic jams of New York, San Francisco and Paris are well known – beaten only by those in Seattle where a driver annually spends 59 hours stuck in traffic.

Traffic jams are nothing new. In 45 BC, Rome banned all vehicles from within the city – and in other cities vehicles, including horses, were allowed only at night… because of traffic jams.

Traffic lights were used before the advent of the motorcar.

Thomas Cook, the world’s first travel agency in the world, was founded in 1850.

The Wright Brother tested the first aeroplane in a wind tunnel before flying it.

Air-filled tyres were used on bicycles before they were used on motorcars.

A dog was the first in space and a sheep, a duck and a rooster the first to fly in a hot air balloon. A dog was the first to parachute.

In ancient China, the nose of a criminal who attacked travellers was cut off.

Electric cars were introduced in 1896 and by the end of the century almost 50% of motorcars worldwide were electric.

Yet, by 1905 80% of cars were petrol driven and by 1920 the electric car was, well, almost history.

The shortest scheduled airline flight is made between the island of Westray to Papa Westray off Scotland. The flight lasts 2 minutes.

In 1913, the Russian Airline became the first to introduce a toilet on board.

In 1620, Dutch inventor Cornelius van Drebbel launched the world’s first submarine in the Thames.

More than 60 million people annually visit France, a country of 60 million people.

The first motorcycle speedway race was held in Maitland, Australia, in 1925.

Mercedes Benz cars are named after Mercedes Jellinek.

It is said that, in 1941 the Ford motor company produced an experimental automobile with a plastic body composed of 70% cellulose fibres from hemp. The car body could absorb blows 10 times as great as steel without denting. The car was designed to run on hemp fuel. Because of the ban on both hemp and alcohol, the car was never mass produced.

There are more than 16,400 parking metres in Manhatten, New York.

New York cabs get about 2000 tickets per month, handed out by about 2000 traffic attendants.

Manhattan traffic crawls at an average of 6.2 miles an hour on midtown city streets.

The first Ford cars had Dodge engines.

About a quarter of the world still drives on the left, and the countries that do are mostly old British colonies.

The Ilyushin-76TD is the world’s largest waterbomber.

The pilot with the most flying hours is American John Edward Long. From May 1933 to April 1977 he flew 62 654 hours, achieving a total of more than 7 years airborne.

There are about a billion bicycles in the world, twice as many as motorcars.

In 1955, the Ford Thunderbird outsold the Chev Corvette 24 to one.

The fewest aeroplane passengers killed in one year was 1 in 1993 and the most was 583 in 1977 when two Boeing 747s collided on the runway at Los Rodeos airport, Tenerife, the Canary Islands.

In 1893 J. Frank and Charles E. Duryea produced the first successful gasoline-powered automobile in the United States. They began production of their Duryea in 1896, the same year Henry Ford started operations of his first successful car in Detroit.

The usual thermal efficiency of reciprocal steam engine is 15%. That of steam turbine is over 40%.

Nuclear ships are basically steamships and driven by steam turbines. The reactor just develops heat to boil the water.

The world’s oldest surviving boat is a simple 3 metre (10 feet) long dugout dated to 7400 BC. It was discovered in Pesse Holland in the Netherlands.

Rock drawings from the Red Sea site of Wadi Hammamat, dated to around 4000 BC show that Egyptian boats were made from papyrus and reeds.

The world’s earliest known plank-built ship, made from cedar and sycamore wood and dated to 2600 BC, was discovered next to the Great Pyramid in 1952.

The Egyptians created the first organized navy in 2300 BC.

Oar-powered ships were developed by the Sumerians in 3500 BC.

Sails were first used by the Phoenicians around 2000 BC.

The first train reached a top speed of only 8 km/h (5 mph).