Revolution in Transportation
City transportation was undergoing a major transformation, and the automobile had already begun to play its role of revolutionizing rural transportation. The problems of interurban electric railway transportation were less understood than those of urban but they were quickly solved, and interurban business grew rapidly in many sections. Although the interurban electrics rendered a real service in the transportation of passengers and freight, they never became a major transportation agency. Street railways had profited excessively by exploiting labor through low wages, long hours, and generally unsatisfactory conditions. Of the innumerable economic and social effects of the automobile, none was more immediate and obvious than its influence upon the highway system. The internal waterways—except on the Great Lakes—ran generally in a northerly-southerly direction, whereas the main current of traffic was east-west. The commodities carried on the Great Lakes were particularly suitable to water transportation, for they consisted almost entirely of bulky raw materials.