Transportation Network in United States Of America essay

TransportationNetwork in United States Of America

Theindustrialization in America from 1790-1860 brought various effectsin the country. This was because of the movement and the acquisitionof new lands. The western lands brought new opportunities for laborand development in the United States. Therefore there was need fordevelopment of transportation in order to facilitate this. During the19thcentury, transportation routes and means of transport underwentdramatic changes, which increased national mobility. New and improvedtransportation technology made it easier and faster to transportgoods and people. There was the construction of national roads thencanals and lastly railroad revolution.

  1. Roads

Therewere individually owned in the 18thcentury. The government had less interest with its construction.Early toll roads were constructed and owned by joint- stock companiesthat sold stock in order to raise funds for its construction. As thepopulation grew, the government was able to view transportationnetwork as a public good therefore it funded the construction ofinterstate turnpikes and canals. Work commenced on a National Road toconnect the west to eastern seaboard. In 1815 construction of theNational Road began in Cumberland and reached Wheeling in 1818. Apolitical strife prevented its advance to the Mississippi River. Thisroad provided a green light to many including the antebellumsettlers.


  • It enabled the manufacturing class to easily transport goods.


  • There was increased cost of transportation as it was added to the final cost of the goods being transported. Hence the cost affected those who could not afford.

  • Stone and gravels which were used for construction were not hard enough to support the increasing weights and volume of transport thus they were costly as they were imported wales.

  1. Canals

Thebuilding of canals was due to the need of speeding goods to themarket. The most important canal was the Erie Canal which wasproposed in 1807 and was constructed between 1817 and 1825. Theconstructions of this canal lead to immense wealth and greatimportance of New York City which became the main port. It alsohelped to multiply trade in the country as it opened eastern marketsto mid-western farm products.


  • It was popular and benefited the development of the United States in early 19th century.


  • High cost of construction and maintenance costs.

  • They were slow as compared to railways.

  1. Railroads

Theexpansion of railroads in the 19thcentury led to the end of the canals. Railroads were fast, scheduledand were year round. They were superior to water routes. In 1826there were various railroads in America including Massachusetts, Newyork, South Carolina and Pennsylvania. The most common railroad wasthe Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.


  • All season operations whereas water transportation stopped in the winter

  • More contact points so there were fewer wagons and hauling.

  • Speed and cheaper to construct than canals and turn pipes

  • Railroads are a form of international transfer of technology because they were brought over from England mainly.


  • Passenger’s clothes often suffered the consequences of the soot, ashes and smoke generated by both coal and wood burning steam locomotives.

  • They were sometimes inefficient for example, not all railroads used the same gauge track in the 1800s.

  • There were many accidents in the early decades of the railroads. Coal burning stoves in passenger’s cats often ignited cars and consumed passengers.


Donaldson,Dave, and Richard Hornbeck. Railroadsand American Economic Growth: A&quot Market Access&quot Approach.No. w19213. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2013.