The electric-powered streetcar, which ran on batteries, began operating in New York City in 1874, replacing the horse-drawn cars that had been introduced in 1832. This new form of passenger transport was called “light rail.” The streetcars were an effective form of transport because they ran short routes with frequent service. For example, they could carry people from one neighborhood to the next. But, the batteries that powered these streetcars needed constant recharging, and as a result this was not an effective means of transportation.
The streetcars remained popular until World War I, when prices rose for materials such as copper for electric wires and steel for rails.
How does the availability of transportation affect the economic and cultural aspects of a society?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and evaluate the impact of this technology on the local community.