Transportation services play a big role in the growth and development of a city. While a strong transport system is vital to the growth and prosperity of a city, it also signifies its development. City transportation comprises of all the public transport systems like buses, cars, taxis, metros, rails, ferries, subways and more.
The steam engine invention paved the way for viable means of public transport. Vehicles could now be steam powered, and in 1817, the first Steam ferry boat arrived in New York.
The omnibus was popularly driven by horses. This was the common form of road transport system. About 3-5 horses could be used per vehicle, depending on its size. The rails road technology came into existence and these rail trams were pulled by horses. Most of the animal-driven transports were shut down by the end of 19th century. The cable car was introduced in the United States in 1868. The cable car era has a significant place in the history of city transportation. Interestingly, many urban cities have kept the magic of cable cars still alive, paying homage to this vintage transportation.
The electric car/tram came as a revolutionary means of the transport system. The electric streetcar runs on electricity and routes were drawn and separate tracks were laid for the streetcars to run. This was the primary mode of transportation in the 19th and 20th century. People living in the outskirts and suburban areas could now travel to the central locations using tram transport system. The street car also led to further growth of the cities as they were well connected and people could far and wide for work.
In 1890’s the motor buses were invented. The ‘bus’ had many versions like the trolley bus, bi-articulated buses, and double-decker buses. It was about this time that the elevated trains and underground trains came into existence. The first elevated train system ‘L’, was started in Chicago in the year 1895. Two years later, Boston opened its first underground rail tunnel for the public. It later paved the way for the subway system in the US. Major cities build their underground railway systems during this time. The latest invention in the line of public transports is the monorail that runs on a single track. As vehicles were invented and came into use, the city transport system had to be reinforced with rules to control the vehicles running on the roads. A developed and planned transport system was devised to control the movement of traffic and avoid mishaps and accidents.
At present, major technologies are being developed to reduce carbon emissions and combat pollution. High-speed car/buses/rails are being introduced that run on amazingly high speeds. There are methods being adopted to reduce congestion in city transportation and improve the efficiency, durability, and reliability of the vehicles. The future of city transportation is yet to be seen. With the advent of additive manufacturing, vehicles are slowly using printed parts and it is anticipated that fully functional 3D printed vehicles will soon be dominating the roads. They could be controlled and operated by robots and printed right in the vehicle showroom.