Human Transportation And Its Impact On The Environment

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Human transportation has always had an impact on the environment, with cars having arguably the largest impact. According to Superfreakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner transportation immediately prior to the development of cars was entirely depended on horses and horse-drawn carriages. By the end of the 19th century, New York had around two-hundred-thousand horses roaming the streets. Each horse created around thirty-five pounds of feces per day. The introduction of cars was expected to provide a much cleaner solution to transportation; however, this was a misconception. In reality, according to Brandon Keim, writer for Nautilis, the late 19th and early 20th centuries were actually the age of street cars. These street cars were either electric or horse-powered. Only a couple of very rich drivers used cars as a means of personal transportation. Around this time sewer systems were being developed to clean up the streets. In order to install these systems the streets were being torn up and replaced by asphalt. The new streets allowed automobiles to compete with street cars run on rails and usually pulled along by horses. There was limited competition between the two, and as cars started filling up the newly paved streets, the increased congestion and slower traffic resulted in diminished usage of street cars as a mode of transportation. This decreased demand for streetcars coupled with governments interfering in the market in order to prevent a monopoly from forming, eventually led to automobile manufacturing companies purchasing streetcar companies at a relatively cheap price. The removal of the main competitor to automobiles was the foundation for the automobile dominance we see today. According to historians Wells and... ... middle of paper ... ...limiting emissions. In 1990 the Clean Air Amendments set strict standards for emissions. This new policy led to more interest in alternatives to the internal combustion engine such as electric powered vehicles or even hybrids. Through the investigation of cars there is a direct connection between technology and the environment, but also to human nature. It is in human nature to develop further, this urge to improve led to the invention and introduction of cars into society. This new technology had many detrimental effects on the environment. Some of these effects were first had such as production and emissions, but some were from a rise in demand for oil and other key car components. At some point these disadvantages became too extreme to ignore and humans were forced to develop the technology even further, this time taking into account the environmental impact.
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