Road Transport is conducted within the Public Domain

(Public: the people constituting a community, state or nation

Domain: A field of action, thought, influence)

Road Transport is conducted within the Public Domain

Let’s first define what we mean by a Public Domain

The name "public" originates with the Latin from populus, to the English word 'populace', and in general denotes some mass population ("the people") in association with some matter of common interest.


So, in political science and history, a public is a population of individuals in association with civic affairs, or affairs of office or state. In social psychology, marketing, and public relations, a public has a more situational definition. John Dewey defined public as a group of people who, in facing a similar problem, recognize it and organize themselves to address it.


Dewey's definition of a public is thus situational: people organized about a situation. Built upon this situational definition of a public is the situational theory of Publics by James E. Grunig, which talks of non-publics (who have no problem), latent publics (who have a problem), aware publics (who recognize that they have a problem), and active publics (who do something about their problem).

Have you ever given a thought as to which of these publics you fit in?

In 1947 Paul H. Appleby defined public administration as "public leadership of public affairs directly responsible for executive action". In a democracy, it has to do with such leadership and executive action in terms that respect and contribute to the dignity, the worth, and the potentials of the citizen.


One year later, Gordon Clapp, then defined public administration "as a public instrument whereby democratic society may be more completely realized." This implies that it must "relate itself to concepts of justice, liberty, and fuller economic opportunity for human beings" and is thus "concerned with "people, with ideas, and with things".

Drawing on the democracy theme and discarding the link to the executive branch, Patricia M. Shields asserts that public administration "deals with the stewardship and implementation of the products of a living democracy". The key term "product" refers to "those items that are constructed or produced" such as prisons, roads, laws, schools, and security. "As implementers, public managers engage these products."They participate in the doing and making of the "living" democracy.


A living democracy is "an environment that is changing, organic", imperfect, inconsistent and teaming with values. "Stewardship” is emphasized because public administration is concerned "with accountability and effective use of scarce resources and ultimately making the connection between the doing, the making and democratic values". (Source: Wikipedia)

Within the framework of road freight transport

The road freight industry represents one of the most important sectors within any democracy, whereas, implementers (public managers) participate in doing and making of a living democracy, which is changing, organic, imperfect, inconsistent and teaming with values. Given this situation, it is imperative that the effectiveness of public administration (stewardship) be concerned with accountability, effective use of scarce resources and ultimately making the connection between the doing, the making and democratic values.

Uppermost in the minds of road freight operators should be consideration for the reality of sharing their “work-space” with the general public. Safe, effective use of public road space and pollution are probably the three foremost considerations in this regard, closely followed by a genuine commitment to absolute conformity in terms of effective use of scarce resources (fuel), not forgetting that funding road maintenance is a huge challenge to an already heavily over-burdened fiscus.

In concluding business agreements, Carriers should make Shippers acutely aware of the limitations, restrictions and compliance mandates in using a public road to satisfy their road freight dealings.

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