The Story of America's Transportation Revolution

by Gene Dallaire, Associate Editor; Civil Engineering, ASCE,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1977, Vol. 47, Issue 13, Pg. 86-90

Document Type: Feature article


During the 200 years since the Declaration of Independence, the United States witnessed a revolution in transportation unprecedented in recorded history. For hundreds of years, man had achieved no significant advances in his methods of transportation. Then, with the dawn of the 19th century, began a succession of major transportation innovations in Britain, the United States and other countries-the turnpike, the barge canal, the steamboat, the railroad locomotive, the automobile, and finally the airplane. These new modes permitted the movement of more and more goods and people over longer and longer distances, faster and faster, and at lower and lower costs. Thus, they made possible local and regional specialization in agriculture and manufacturing; the development of mass markets; the birth of large-scale manufacturing; the congregation of vast numbers of people in towns and cities.

Subject Headings: Rail transportation | Manufacturing | History | Innovation | Highways and roads | Barges | Canals | Automobiles | United States

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