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  Chapter Thirteen:

  Traffic Deaths



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Travel within the United States increased enormously, while the modes of travel changed.
Passenger traffic on American railroads grew steadily from the late 1800s until the 1920s, when the bulk of intercity travel shifted to the private automobile and rail travel began a decline that continued until World War II. When wartime gasoline rationing and the suspension of auto production made cars less available, the railroads were pressed back into service to accommodate the great volume of travel by soldiers and war workers. Intercity bus lines, whose operations had been very limited before 1940, expanded to carry part of the load. 

After the war, the decline of rail passenger services resumed. Most rail companies abandoned passenger service altogether. Many passenger stations were razed or abandoned, and most railroad cars were taken out of service. In an effort to salvage the vestiges of the rail passenger network, Congress created Amtrak in 1970. After taking control of rail passenger service from the private rail companies the following year, Amtrak continued to operate with federal subsidies and carried about half of the remaining rail passenger volume. Commuter lines accounted for the rest. 

Less than a decade after taking control of the nation’s passenger railroads, the federal government deregulated the nation’s airlines. The great expansion in air travel that began after midcentury is projected to continue indefinitely, putting constant pressure on air transit facilities but offering speedy and safe transportation. 

Bus travel provided a low-cost alternative for travelers who could not afford the price of a seat on an airplane or a train. Bus travel retained a small but relatively stable niche.

Chapter 13 chart 1

Source Notes
Source Abbreviations

HS series Q 6, Q 69–81, and Q 284–312; SA 1984, table 1099; and SA 1999, table 1014.


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