Term Paper: 1920s Transportation Changes

Pages: 3 (972 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Transportation  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] However, probably the biggest change in the cities was traffic congestion. Author Sandler continues, "Combined with the trolleys that still moved along in great numbers over city streets, these vehicles created horrendous congestion" (Sandler 34). Many cities and communities still struggle with that congestion today. They also contributed greatly to the growing problem of air pollution in American cities.

Another surprising thing they accomplished was making people safer. Most people might not think about it, but fire departments and police departments used trucks and cars to respond quicker to emergencies, so people's safety actually improved in the 1920s as more departments acquired automobiles and used them effectively. People's insurance costs often went down as a result of their greater public safety.

Automaking became the nation's biggest employer by this time, too. Sandler states, "By the late 1920s- with more than 23 million cars on American roads and with about 85% of the world's motor vehicles being built in the United States-automaking became the nation's largest industry" (Sandler 35). This was a brand new industry, so it brought great change throughout the country, creating thousands of jobs and mushrooming into the giant car corporations of today.

All of this new technology created a new sense of freedom and movement that was hard to resist. All sorts of businesses sprang up as roads crisscrossed the country. Motor hotels sprang up along the highways, food stands and restaurants put down roots, and people began to take family vacations across the country because they could find a place to stay and a place to feed the kids while they were on the road. It made the country seem much "smaller," because it was easier to travel and it gave American families the ability to travel widely and discover the freedom of the open road.

In conclusion, the 1920s were a time of great social and cultural change in America. The lure of the automobile really grew in the 1920s. It changed everything from rural education to public safety, and it gave people a new sense of freedom and openness in their lives. They could travel greater distances, they could live in more desirable areas, and they just enjoyed a richer lifestyle with the automobile. Of course, there were some undesirable characteristics, such as traffic congestion, air pollution, and of course, the growing number of auto accidents and deaths associated with them. For the most part, however, the automobile had a very positive effect on society, and that relationship continues today.


Drowne, Kathleen Morgan and Huber, Patrick The 1920's. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004.

Editors. "1920s Automobiles." 1920-30.com. 2009. 26 Oct. 2009.


Editors. "America on the Move." Smithsonian Institution.edu. 2009. 26 Oct. 2009.


Sandler, Martin W. Driving around the U.S.A.: Automobiles in American Life. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. [END OF PREVIEW]

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