Transportation Essay Examples
THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
The massive industrialization and urbanization of the U.S. cities has raised the problem of citizens’ transportation. As the downtown has transformed from partly a dwelling zone into pure industrial and business center, the population began to spread around the downtown spontaneously creating new districts. Partly it happened as the cost of living in downtown was much higher than in suburbs. The railway roads and horse transportation have become inefficient in the lights of population growth and expansion of urban districts. The horsecars were slow and uncomfortable and could not manage the overgrowing capacity of passengers whereas the railway transportation could not perform short-distance trips.
The development of electricity has contributed to the introduction of mass transportation infrastructure. The emergence of such means of transportation as street railway and subway was aimed to connect the downtown with other districts and suburbs. Basically, the improvement of transportation was a way to increase the labor force movement efficiency. Besides, the transportation business was very promising for entrepreneurship. The companies such as IRT in New York or Boston’s West End Company have built their monopolies and earned enormous profits being the pioneers of mass urban transportation. The introduction of subway in New York in 1904 was also a way to embody wealth and prosperity of the city.
The means of mass transportation such as els, streetcars and subway had to be affordable for average citizen in order to gain popularity. At first large transportation companies contributed from economy of scale – the number of passenger was rapidly increasing. However, beginning from 1910-1920’s the riding habit began to go down in large cities in favor of driving habbit. The companies were forced to raise the transportation fairs. At the same time the automobile industry has lost its luxury status mostly due to the efforts of Henry Ford and his belt-line production. While mass transit was considered overcrowded, uncomfortable and not always reliable, automobiles became affordable for middle class.
CONTROVERSIES OF NEW TRANSPORTATION MODES
The urban transportation industry has faced a number of problems during its formation. The technologies used in street railways and subway were imperfect and the staff lacked professional skills. The entrepreneurs had little understanding in the management of transportation companies. Many companies went out of business facing lack of financing, poor route planning and financial racket. The launch of subway transportation in New York has caused concern in psychological aspect: it was threatened by the anxiety of underground experience. The critics supposed people would fear to use this transportation mode.
The streetcars and subway trains were overcrowded as their capacity was insufficient to transit all the passengers. The equipment overloads lead to frequent need in repairs and rapid depreciation. Similar difficulties were experienced in automobile industry. The vehicles were not reliable enough, depended on weather conditions and were inconvenient in maintenance. The automobile industry also required good roads and many cities were not prepared for massive traffic in terms of street-planning. The traffic jams in business district of Los Angeles and other large cities have emerged due to the excessive number of vehicles beginning from late 1900’s.
THE EVOLUTION OF DOWNTOWN CENTERS
Nowadays downtown is usually the business heart of the city as well as its historical legacy. The revolution in urban transportation has altered the face of the downtown shaping the importance of the central district. Despite the expansion of the city area and gradual decentralization, the transportation routes always lead to the downtown. The first subway stations and streetcar stops were built in downtown. Therefore the city center was always within reach. The accessibility advantage has boosted the significance of downtown as citizens could travel to it from remote areas.
However, private automobiles had negative influence as vehicle owners created massive traffic jams and downtown is associated with traffic congestion in large cities. The streets were widened, old buildings destroyed to relieve the central traffic artery and new traffic regulations were introduced. For example, in London the driveway to the central district is chargeable which helps to decline the continuous line of vehicles. Nevertheless, downtown remains the heart of the city to the present day.
Edery, David, and Ethan Mollick. "An Introdcution to Games, and Why They Matter." Changing the Game: How Video Games Are Transforming the Future of Business. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: FT, 2009. 240. Print.
Warner, Sam Bass Jr. “From Walking City to the Implementation of the Street Railways” Streetcar Suburbs: The Process of Growth in Boston, 1870-1900. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1962. Print.
Hood, Clifton. “The Subway and the City” 722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How They Transformed New York. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993. Print.
Fogelson, Robert. “Wishful Thinking: Downtown and the Automotive Revolution” Downtown: Its Rise and Fall, 1880-1950. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001. Print.
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