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  Roads The only roads inland to the frontier were the narrow paths first used by the Indians and by the animals they hunted. The famous Wilderness Road, started in 1775 by Daniel Boone and other woodsmen, ran west for almost 300 miles from eastern Tennessee to the Ohio River at Louisville, Kentucky. Yet, twenty more years had to pass before this “road” was fit to be used by wagons through the mountains. The difficulties in building good roads for the young Republic, with little money and less labor available, were enormous. Construction of the roads was very expensive. Therefore, following a system established in Europe, private companies were also allowed to build many roads. They then collected toll from those who used the roads. Or at least they tried to. Of hundreds of companies that built toll roads, most never made a profit or even got their investment back. They were too expensive for heavy freight, and besides, the teamsters. Some toll roads still exist today, especially in the East. The New Jersey Turnpike, for example, is one of the most heavily used highways in the United States. Waterways East of Mississippi the country is very much “a nation of rivers” a fact that can still surprise visitors from other countries whose schoolbook maps often only show a few of the largest, such as the Missouri, Ohio, or Colombia rivers. From the earliest colonial days up until the railroad became dominant after the Civil War, travel by water was the favorite means of transportation for both passengers and freight. New Englanders - with their hard, rocky soil and short growing season  –  turned to the sea and ships. These “Yankees” soon became famous as  traders throughout the world, and their whaling ships were active from one pole to the other. The American had a great advantage when it came to boats and ships, whether for the inland waterways or the oceans. Britain had largely depleted her forests, using the wood for construction, to make charcoal, and for building ships. By 1775, of all merchant ships in the world sailing under the British flag, one-third were American built. From 1820 until the Civil War, the United States was the leading maritime nation. The first commercially successful steamboat in the world was Robert Fulton’s Clermont, which appeared on the Hudson River in New York in 1807. By the 1830s, there were already many steamboats on the inland rivers, especially the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Twenty years later, some 750 steamboats were travelling on the western rivers. These steamboats carried pioneer families and their wagons, immigrants, soldiers, frontiersmen, trappers, salesmen, gamblers, churchman, journalists  –  all coming out West to explore, settle, civilize, and describe the new territories. They also carried cattle, cotton, lumber, manufactured goods from “back East” and even expensive furniture imported from Europe. Steamboats were an important means  of transportation which helped to expand the frontier further and further west. The picture of them racing through the night, throwing up sparks and smoke, still remains in American minds as part of the romance of the West.   The Car Culture America B.C (Before the Car) was a much different place than it was after all those Fords and Chevys became available to millions of Americans. Soon the average “man next door” and his teenage son and daughter as well as his wife, could afford a car. The many effects of the revolution brought about by the mass-produced car and its larger brothers, the truck and the bus, are today familiar to most western industrialized nations. In America, however, this revolution happened earlier and on a much larger scale. To simply state, however, that America had and has a lot of roads and cars and trucks and buses does not mean much. Therefore it is worth-while to look at some current statistics. It is estimated, for example, that today the United States still has two-fifths of all passenger cars in the world; over 120 million. In the United States, there are more cars and trucks and buses per person than anywhere else. In the Soviet Union (Russia), for example, there are 26 people per car, while in the United Kingdom and France there are 3,4 and 2,6 respectively. The United States leads with 1,9 people per car. The size of the population relative to the size of the country has important implication. Public, state-supported mass transportation systems  –  buses, commuter trains, street-cars, subways  –  only make sense in economic and practical terms for those parts of the U.S. that are densely settled. For example, over 25 percent of all people in New York use the mass transit, public transportation system. The most extensive and one of the least expensive means of transportation in America is the bus. Both city traffic and intercity transportation are largely provided by bus companies, public and private. Intercity and suburban bus companies operate between some 15.000 cities, towns, and villages. Since 1970s, United States has regulation that national speed limit. The national speed limit of 55mph or 88km/h has been in effect, although on some rural interstate highways the speed limit has been raised to 65mph or 104km/h. some Americans, of course, always try to just a little bit faster, but overall, most have come to accept the 55mph speed limit. The strict U.S. pollution and exhaust regulations for cars and trucks are by now well known outside the United States. Along with the introduction of unleaded gas and catalytic converters in 1975, these measures are now often taken as international standards and goals. Special bumpers which better withstand crashes are required on all cars whether made in the U.S. or imported. Much tougher drinking-and- driving laws in many states (“if you drink and drive, you go to jail”) have meant that in some areas traffic deaths have dropped as much as 30 percent in one year.   There are very strict laws, rigidly enforced, for protecting school children. Children have special crossing areas and school zones in which the maximum speed limits for cars are usually from 5 to 15mph. American courts, too, have little sympathy for those who speed near school zones or pass school buses as children are getting out. Automatic fines of up to USD500 for first time offenders are not uncommon. Airplanes Even after the railroad had come and the car revolution had taken place, the great distances to be traveled and the time necessary to do so remained a major problem. The three largest metropolitan areas, New York/New Jersey, Los Angeles/Long Beach, and Chicago, are very far apart. New York to Chicago is over 700 miles. Now, in the 21 st  century, a second transportation revolution has taken place; the airplane has become a major factor in mass transportation. Especially during the last twenty years, the numbers of airplanes and the amount of flying has grown enormously. In some ways, this revolution is similar to the first one which was brought about by the car. Flying in the United States is now very common for just about any American. One reason is the enormous distances that have to be covered in order to get from one corner of the country to the other. Another reason is that it is less expensive in America, on the average, than  just about anywhere else. Competition between the several hundred interstate and international American airlines, all of them privately owned, is great. This development has also accelerated since the civilian airlines were first “deregulated” that is, allowed to compete with each other for more routes and passengers, in the late 1970s. Today, the U.S. airlines account for over one-fifth of all civilian aircraft in the world. According to the International Civic Aviation Organization (Montreal), there were over 3200 civilian passenger planes in the U.S. Canada and the United Kingdom occupied second and third places with less than 600 airplanes each. Of the total distances flown in the world by civilian aircraft, the United States accounts for 46,7 percent. In the number of passengers, too, America leads with 64,7 percent of the world’s total. Finally, eight of the world’s ten busiest airp orts are in the United States. Some airlines complain that a price war will cause the weakest of them to go out of business and others to lose profits. Other Americans, however, remember that an association of automobile manufacturers once tried to prevent Henry Ford from selling inexpensive cars for much the same reason. American businessmen, for whom competition is a fact of life, are not impressed by such arguments either. And average Americans who are now able to fly across the country to visit friends and relatives are also unlikely to feel sorry because a pilot may earn USD80.000 a year instead of USD120.000. Although some of the many airlines now flying will be left behind on the ground, there is no doubt that the second great American revolution in transportation  –  mass transportation by air  –  has taken off.   
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