Early American Transportation

Transportation in early America came mostly in the form of horses and boats. In the 18th century, horses were used as transportation on land and sailing vessels were used for crossing rivers. In those times, most of the population was residing on the Atlantic coast or along the navigable waterways, and the coastal cities were located far away from each other. This raised the need for a reliable transportation system.


Before the advent of steamboats, transportation upstream was very difficult because the Mississippi River had a very strong current .The first steamboat was introduced in the 19th century, and it was used within the Mississippi River system. Steamboats played a major role in the transportation of both passengers and freight.


In 1673, crude roads were the only form of roads that were available in the country, and one of the most famous crude riding trails was the one that traveled from New York to Boston. This road was mostly used by for the purpose of delivering mail. Later on, turnpikes and bridges were built by private companies to allow easier transportation across the country.  


American waterways were inspired by the canal systems of England. George Washington was the one who first expressed the desire to improve the system of waterways, and many manmade canals were used for transportation in the 1800s. The earliest canal was built to improve transportation across Ohio Valley, and an English engineer was hired to supervise the construction of the canal. One of the most popular canals was the Erie Canal, which helped to speed up the transportation of goods among markets in New York. The Panama Canal was built to provide a shortcut between North America and South America.


The use of canals was reduced after railroad transportation was introduced. There was an urgent need for a more efficient system of transportation during the years before the Civil War, and industrialization helped in the development of the transcontinental rail system in 1860. The railroads that were built in the 19th century generated low freights as they traveled through sparsely populated regions.

Today, Americans use a wide range of transportation, such as ships, airplanes, trains, trucks, and others. As transportation becomes more efficient and affordable in the US and around the world, goods and materials can be transported with greater efficiency and lower costs, and this helps many businesses prosper. Also, since there is a wider range of affordable transportation options available, more and more people are traveling to other places in the country for work and vacation.

By .