5 Facts About United States Transportation History That Nobody Ever Told You

Posted by Sarah Seippel on

5 Facts About United States Transportation History That Nobody Ever Told You

The twentieth century was the era for growth, especially advancements made in transportation.  Let’s start from the beginning shall we.  The growth of American transportation began when Thomas Jefferson was elected into office.  President Jefferson had a vision to expand trade and travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.  He wanted to be able to connect people across the entire continent.  By the 1800’s, Jefferson had implemented different transportation systems that would connect American communities, involving roads, rivers, and railroads.  Many citizens were skeptical of this plan; however, by the later half of the 19th-century, these transportation systems, specifically the railroad system, was more than what it what its envisioned purpose was.  It was not only a means for people to travel the continent; it was a way to transport goods between farms, towns, and cities.      

With this new transportation system flourishing, people found that they could obtain fruits and vegetables year-round.  Farmers could sell wheat and grain to ports, which could then be sent out on ships around the world.  Local crops could be sold nation-wide.  The increased demand for the goods required an increased demand for labor, so immigrants from Asia and Mexico could be employed to plant, harvest, and package the foods. Now that these goods were so accessible, people had no need to move to have food and goods to stay alive.  People could remain in the same place and develop cities and towns.  With the growth of American cities, public transportation grew as well.

Fast forward to the twenty-first century and we have units of transportation that surpass the visions of two hundred years ago.  Our nation offers Transatlantic flights, cross country bus tickets, and International cruise lines.  To put the changes in perspective, here are five facts about the changes in United States Transportation that you probably don’t know:

  1. In 1900, Americans owned 8,000 cars. By 1920, they owned 8 million, and by 2000, there were more than 220 million- that is more than once car for every person about the age of 18.
  2. There 3,980,817 miles of roads in the United States.
  3. Approximately 15.7 million trucks are currently in use in the U.S. If you lined up all of those trucks end-to-end, they would reach the moon!
  4. 42% of Americans used planes to travel for leisure between the years of 2008 and 2009.
  5. One third of the world’s airports are in the United States.

As you can see, transportation is an ever-evolving industry.  Without these advancements made regarding automobiles, trains airplanes, boats, and even bicycles, life would probably be like that of the 17th century.  Here is a quick clip to give you a visual on the history of transportation. 

Let us know which form of transportation you appreciate the most and why!



G&B Integrated, Facts About History

InterNations- Public History in the USA


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published