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Hallidie was inspired to create a new form of transit after witnessing a horsecar driver repeatedly whip a horse while it struggled to climb a slippery hill.

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A city notorious for its endless rolling hills, San Francisco was the perfect place for this next big transportation innovation to take place. Hallidie invented the new cable-driven system, eliminating the need for horses to struggle to pull the carriages up the never-ending hills. Running on existing horsecar rails with a moving cable inserted in the middle, these new trams used a clamp on the bottom of the car to secure the vehicle to the cable.

To stop the car, pressure was applied to the brakes while the clamp released the cable. While the system was certainly an improvement over horse-drawn carriages, the first cable cars were quite unsafe. Cables were prone to snapping, sometimes causing dangerous accidents on the steep San Francisco hills.


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Thus, the quest for ideal public transportation was on once again. The most notable of these is still operating in San Francisco, California. The first streetcars started popping up in various American cities around the year One of the most influential American inventions of the time, these buses on rails were able to hold more passengers than ever at a low cost, enticing more pedestrians to hop on for a ride around the city.

Streetcars were propelled by power lines drawn over their routes, which carried electric current. Since the streetcar was able to use existing rails and carriages from the horsecar and cable car systems, making the switch was pretty easy. New rail routes popped up too, though, and it was with the invention of the streetcar that major cities— once small, densely-packed centers— started to sprawl outward and become the bustling metropoles we know today. While the idea of walking to work was not completely dead and never would be , the overlapping of downtown social areas with residential developments became less common over time.

Because streetcars made it so easy to quickly travel from one end of the city to the other, what developed was the downtown layout we know today: busy commercial areas packed in the center with less-dense residential zones surrounding the city. Getting downtown was easy, so luxury retail chains, million-dollar businesses, and other places of entertainment seized this opportunity to set up shop at these streetcar hubs.

A streetcar rail intersection in downtown Roanoke, Virginia, circa Photo credit: George C. The streetcar system was the first public transit system that made it possible for citizens to commute from their suburbs into the city for work, contributing to the sprawling of major cities. These suburbs were very densely-packed, with one rail line connecting the suburb to the main city. While the streetcar was, of course, a significant improvement over its predecessors, ridership still began to decline for reasons unrelated to transit technology.


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The onset of the Great Depression in the s lead to the closure of many lines, with the rationing of rubber tires and gasoline during World War II further deterring their use in the s. Still, during this time many streetcar lines were converted to bus lines, a more flexible and economical choice. Some streetcar lines do still exist today, however, most notably in Boston, Philadelphia, and Seattle.

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Thus, the first rapid transit systems were born. Around the turn of the century, elevated trains as well as underground trains became popular in many other major cities around the world. Boston , Massachusetts opened the first subway system in the United States in A subway car in Boston undergoing a test run. The first subway cars were simply open streetcars that were redirected to underground tunnels. The s brought about a more futuristic heavy-rail system known as the monorail.

Overall, the lack of infrastructure required for buses compared to rail systems makes buses a much more economical choice.

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While the habit formation effect is real, it is not, unfortunately, very large. Smart and Klein conclude:. Rail services are usually pretty clear to new arrivals, but buses are harder. Here, the reforms that raise bus ridership via network redesign can also make service clearer for occasional users and newcomers. Bus grids are more legible than systems with extensive branching and recombination of routes. Routes that run consistent service all day are more legible than routes with special rush hour-only patterns.

But when it comes to the built environment, there is no special solution. These ingredients all contribute to creating habits for walking, biking, and riding transit, but they also promote these modes without any relation to habit.


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  • In cities with only skeletal bus service and no rail for example, Tampa, where systemwide bus ridership is 47, trips per day , creating a transit habit means adding more service, rather than reorganizing existing service. People will still suburbanize and get one car per adult if they can afford it, and the transit habit effect will remain small. Joe six pack paying 15 cents a mile for his 40 mile daily commute will change his mobility pattern PDQ.

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    Yes, but. Have you seen European fuel taxes? The big differences between Europe and the US are,. As a public transit provider, people rely on our buses and trains to get to jobs and services. But we cannot allow Mr. Walter to continue to ride based on his recent actions and behavior that threatens the safety and well-being of our riders and employees. San Diego is a very cyclist-friendly city. Many roads have designated bike lanes and there are lots of bike rental companies throughout the city.

    Not to mention, there are beautiful views everywhere you go. Rent a bike for the day and explore the waterfront area of La Jolla, the bustling downtown, and more. The colorful trolley stops at 10 popular locations and allows for the perfect sightseeing experience. San Diego International Airport SAN , also called Lindbergh Field, is conveniently located near downtown San Diego and is easily accessible via public transportation and shared ride services.

    Please note: Exact change required to purchase bus fare. Check the MTS website for up-to-date fare information for the By Shuttle: Airport shuttles run regularly from the airport terminals to various points around the city and can be booked in advanced. Shuttles provide an easy to use, economical alternative to a taxi. By Rental Car: Most major car rental companies are easily accessible from the airport. Use the car rental reservation boards located near the baggage claim areas of terminals 1 and 2 to catch a shuttle to the car rental locations.

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