The importance of water has led to most cities, that grew up as sites for trading, being located on rivers or at sea, ofter at the intersection of two bodies of water. Until the Industrial Revolution, transport remained slow and costly, and production and consumption were located as close to each other as feasible.
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.
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.