The Beginnings of Public Transportation in New York: Omnibuses and Street Railways

  • Roger P. Roess
  • Gene Sansone
Part of the Springer Tracts on Transportation and Traffic book series (STTT, volume 1)


In 1825, virtually all of New York’s 160,000+ residents lived on lower Manhattan, beneath what is now Canal Street. The length and breadth of the city could be walked in under 30 minutes. The vast majority of the population traveled on foot, while some traveled on horseback. The rapid growth of the city over the rest of the century, however, would soon require some form of public transportation to allow people to live further away from their workplaces. In the early- to mid-1800s, if the city was to grow, it would have to grow northward, to the unpopulated portions of Manhattan, and eastward, to Brooklyn. The age of skyscrapers was in the future, so vertical growth was not a serious option.


Public Transportation Rapid Transit Mail Service Franchise System Regular Service 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Transportation EngineeringPolytechnic Institute of New York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.MTA New York City TransitPolytechnic Institute of New York University New YorkUSA

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