As a modern nation spanning a continent, the United States has a highly developed transportation system. At one time, railroads provided the main connections between America’s cities and towns. The rise of the automobile in the 20th century eventually led to one of the world’s most extensive systems of roads and highways. Despite continuing problems with infrastructure and the integrity of America’s bridges and roads, the passenger car is still king in American transportation, both between cities and within urban and suburban areas. Americans move in cars, eat in cars, worship in cars, and make love in cars. They spend a great deal of time, attention, money and love on their cars.
As a large country, the United States also has a well-developed system of air travel, although at either end of an airline trip, automobile travel of some type is usually involved. Over the past few decades, air travel within the country has steadily become more difficult, more expensive, and more time-consuming.
American passenger railroads do operate between cities and across the continent, but they are particularly vital as commuter services in large cities where congested conditions make automobile travel difficult. Urban trains and bus lines provide transportation within most cities as an alternative to the automobile.
The sections that follow cover the full range of transportation options in the United States, beginning with America’s greatest love, the automobile.
Next Section:The Automobile Society
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Full Chapter Outline:
The Automobile Society
—Buying a New Car
—Buying a Used Car
—Registration and Inspection
—Renting a Car
—Leasing a Car
—Repairs and Maintenance
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