The world would have been radically different without canals, railways, turnpikes, and freeways. Over the last two centuries, the development of these modern transportation systems has been transformative. Evidence abounds. Dating to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when electric street railways were rapidly adopted across the developed world, people relied so extensively on streetcars for commuting and shopping that proximity to a streetcar line determined where they lived and where they worked. As a consequence, the extension of streetcar lines produced finger-shaped residential areas along these lines that featured across many North American cities.
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