rapid expansion of the railroads and, indeed, the extreme
importance of the transportation industry brought into
focus the need for a better understanding of the problems
and the need for a greater cooperation between those
directly involved in the commercial movement of goods.
in the United States had been subjected to regulations
by the individual states through which they passed for
many years, and by the Federal Government in 1887. However,
it was not until 1906 that Federal Regulations took
a more significant role and the general public began
to take note of the many changes in the transportation
industry. It was these changes which gave birth to uniformity
within the railroad industry.
the mid 1880's and up to the early days of the 1900's
railroads had enjoyed a period of prosperity. Remember
that up until this time, railroads were the only generally
available means of transport for passengers and movement
of cargo. This prosperity, however, was coming
to an end of sorts, for on the horizon new competitors
were appearing in increasing numbers. This competition
would change the face of the railroad monopoly forever.
land, the motor car and the omnibus were already beginning
to cut heavily into the passenger business of the railroads,
particularly on the short runs. Even more importantly,
the motor truck possessed a flexibility and convenience
that spur tracks could furnish. At the same time
the airplane, with its speed and comforts, was also
issuing a challenge to the railroads and was making
it increasingly difficult for railroads to maintain
their share of the long distance passenger business.
As the country increasingly relied on petroleum
and natural gas for sources of power and energy, the
railroads suffered from a decrease in the carriage of
coal, once their chief item in the freight hauling business.
Even more galling were the pipelines, which could
carry oil and gas to their places of utilization, thereby
bypassing the necessity of railroad hauling.
was the climate in the transport business during the
early days of the 1920's.
transportation continued to grow as an industry in the
first twenty years of the twentieth century, so also
did the growth of transportation groups, or for want
of a better term, "Traffic Clubs."
believe the first was The Transportation Club of Detroit,
now known as the Traffic Club of Detroit, which was
organized in January 1903. The Traffic Clubs of New
York was organized in 1906 and Chicago followed in 1907.
In Canada, the Traffic Clubs of Montreal and Toronto
were organized in 1913.
organization of a traffic club would seem to be the
answer to satisfy the needs in the major transportation
hubs throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.
These clubs afforded the members the opportunity to
meet on a one to one basis. After all, at a traffic
club meeting, you were given the opportunity to meet
your competition . . . to meet potential customers .
. . to sell your product, or your service over dinner
as opposed to cold-calling call that was strictly business.
December 27, 1921, Mr. Henry A. Palmer (Editor - The
Traffic World) addressed the Traffic Club of New York
at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
text of Mr. Palmer's address is not recorded, but one
source remembers that "Henry's speech was given
in his usual forceful manner." What Mr. Palmer
expounded upon was an idea he had conceived of earlier
- a national association of traffic clubs.
idea so electrified the attendees of the New York Traffic
Club that that same evening, W.J.L. Banham, General
Traffic Manager, Otis Elevator Company of New York City
was made the Chairman of a special committee to study
the subject and contact other traffic clubs to determine
whether interest justified progressing with the idea...
than 90 years later, Transportation Clubs International
continues the work begun by Henry Palmer. Approximately
seventy (70) traffic and transportation clubs round
out today's member roster, and the outlook for continued
growth is promising.