The invention of the automobile complicated a traffic system in New York City that was already chaotic with pedestrians, horse-drawn vehicles, streetcars, and bicycles. The event of the automobile created the need for the first traffic regulations and the first stop lights in New York City. By 1912, there were 38,000 automobiles in New York City. The rapid growth of the city's population and of the number of people who owned automobiles led to traffic jams such as the one in this photograph.
Traffic congestion continues to be a problem in New York City today, despite the fact that more than half of New York City households do not own a car. Over two million vehicles registered in the city along with large numbers of commuting vehicles create traffic congestion that costs millions of dollars a day in wasted fuel, lost work time, and wear on roads and vehicles.
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.