By Colin Divall

For almost all people the chance to commute hasn't ever been larger, but variations in mobility spotlight inequalities that experience wider social implications. Exploring how and why attitudes in the direction of flow have advanced throughout generations, the case reviews during this essay assortment variety from medieval to trendy occasions and canopy a number of continents.

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In the new century, fare-based travel classes which had previously been open to people of any race acquired connotations of colour: ‘First Class’ came to mean ‘Whites only’; ‘Third Class’ was shorthand for ‘Blacks only’. In an infinitely complex and fluid lexicon, ‘Second Class’ denoted any seating arrangement that testy or tired conductors and passengers would tolerate at one or another moment. Resistance to such arrangements went beyond objection to legislation. Annoyed and affronted passengers challenged racially segregated seating (and its rough and hurtful enforcement) by refusing to comply and then declining to pay fines.

Like other horse people around them, they re-imagined their beliefs, their daily practices and their relationship to the land. Small mobile bands, seeking out pasture and game, replaced the extended kin networks of the matrilineal earth lodges. The cycle of planting and harvesting gave way to an unceasing quest for grass and water for the growing herds of horses, which competed with the bison for pasturage. Cheyenne men and women experienced the shift to the horse and bison economy in profoundly different ways.

They could not walk to shops, especially if accompanied by young children: furthermore, women wanted to carry a weekly supply of food home in one car journey as they now had purpose-built kitchens with adequate storage space. Suburban mothers also wanted to drive because of the new style of parenting which suggested chauffeuring their children to school, to after-school activities, to medical appointments and to visit their friends. Certainly wives waited for their partners to return home to get hold of the car in the evening or at the weekend, and doubtless for the 59 per cent of households who owned only one car in 1959 negotiations were required about accessing the family vehicle.

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