Transportation 2 Essay, Research Paper
After the Great Depression the automobile began to be more affordable to the public. Just as the middle-class seemed to go car crazy, the United States found themselves in World War II. After the war people were ready for the changes that were to come, however public transportation was not ready for the changes. During the 50 s the automobile became common sight in everyone s driveway. Even the television explosion had an impact on public transportation. The thing that finally put public transportation in the back of everyone s mind was the development of the expressway and the interstate system.
The big wigs in Detroit looked to be poised to deliver an affordable product to the U.S. citizens and make automobiles common sight to even middle class driveways. The government had to help pull the nation out of the depression so federal work programs were developed. Many of the work programs that the government developed to pull the U.S. out of the depression were centered on transportation. Development of new roads and improving existing ones would get the nation ready.
With more people using their personal cars to enter the cities, the city streetcars were becoming less of a staple for cities. People were driving right to where they want to go instead of using public transit. The key would be connecting the suburbs with the roads. Putting a final blow to push for increased development of the expressways and the interstate system.
Limited access expressways made it even quicker and easier for people in the suburbs to travel into the city. As these expressways developed, so did the suburbs along the roads. The government had a plan on the table since the 1930 s to build a system of highways connecting major cities across the nation and make travel within cities easier. In 1956 this dream became a reality with the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. The Act of 1956 set 90 percent federal aid assistance with just 10 percent of funds coming from the local government. The money was set aside sighting the need for a “National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. The public could not hold an argument to the building of a system of highways designed to move troops quickly across the nation. All in all the plan was put into motion with the Act of 1956 to build 41,000 miles of limited access highways with the highest construction standards to date. About 20 percent of the mileage was designed to develop service into, through, and around urban areas
Public concern began to rise during the 60 s as people really started worrying about the environment. By the late 60 s this public debate had reached the government and regulations were being passed to protect the environment. Then in the 70 s America was hit by the crisis of the oil embargo. With rationing of gasoline transportation was bound to benefit. By the way it would help the environment if everybody road together., but transportation did not reap any of the benefits of the tough times though. There was only a slight increase in ridership during the height of the oil embargo. One thing that these two events did do is began a new era in transportation planning in terms of the interstate highway.
Throughout the 90 s interstates have continued to grow. The project in Los Angeles for example has been an eye sore to transportation. There were budget delays, then construction delays. Part of the subway section collapsed during construction, leaving a large whole in a downtown street. Once the interstate opened it was filled with delays and rider complaints. The Los Angeles tranportation system did nothing to help the image of transportation.
Transportation shaped the way we lived during the beginning of the century. It shaped the early years of transportation when there was a mass transit of horse and buggies or electric rail cars that shaped cities. Then as the automobile became affordable to the public, personal transportation redefined the city as it was known. It is the automobile and the movement to the suburbs that has the interstate highway with such emphasis today. Interstates have made suburbs the place to be, so as interstates continue to grow they need to federal aid to improve and expand.