Crowds… and the Street Car’s answer (Nov, 1928)

GE was a powerful company, but they got their asses kicked by GM on this one.

Crowds… and the Street Car’s answer

OUT of the multiplying perplexities of the traffic problem, one fact emerges clearly; the electric street car is our most efficient means of moving masses of people.

The street car passenger occupies six square feet of traffic space. The automobile passenger requires an average of 44 square feet. In thirty of our largest cities, street cars are now carrying over 30,000,000 passengers daily. Attempt to put them in automobiles, and the street—which cannot easily expand its curbs—would be too narrow to hold them.

The street car is handling the crowds. Hundreds of capable and far-seeing street railway executives are busy modernizing equipment and improving schedules so that to-morrow and the day after, winter and summer, this essential public servant may do its work even better and win a still larger measure of popular cooperation.

The next time you board a street car, notice how smoothly it starts and stops, how quickly it gathers speed. Much of this improved equipment carries the General Electric monogram—the same monogram as on the efficient and dependable electric appliances that save time and labor in the electrified home.


  1. Toronto says: May 8, 20127:14 am

    I should forward this to our streetcar hating Mayor, Mr. Ford.

  2. Zeppflyer says: May 8, 20129:24 am

    And, for a thousand years, the name of Robert Moses will be cursed by a billion office workers, doomed to spend half their lives sitting in traffic.

  3. Toronto says: May 8, 201210:16 am

    Coincidentally, Niagara Falls is tearing down part of the elevated highway named after him. So he messed up more than just NYC, it seems.


  4. experiment 626 says: May 9, 20126:53 am

    I was just thinking of Who framed Roger Rabbit and the General Motors streetcar conspiracy!…

    That picture will always send chills down my spine!

  5. Zeppflyer says: May 9, 20127:42 am

    Toronto, in his 40 years in power, Robert Moses was able to mold practically the entire transportation network of New York state in his image. He also controlled the New York Power Authority for many years, including its hydro dam on the Niagra. Furthermore, by promoting cars over mass transit in the NYC Metripolitan area; inarguably the most influential city in the world throughout his life, he influenced the course of transit development throughout the US directly by facilitating a culture which prized automobile transportation above all other forms and indirectly by using his financial resources to back companies and government programs related to auto transport, thus enriching them and depriving rail and bus of a large market and public dollars which could have allowed them to compete on more equal footing nation-wide.

    Sorry for getting ranty. I’m just finishing… and I tend to see his hand in every question of infrastructure.

  6. Charlie says: May 9, 20128:05 am

    Zeppflyer: Funny, I just bought that a few days ago. I decided I wanted to read it before tackling the Johnson books.

  7. Toronto says: May 9, 201211:54 am

    Darn – my local libray search of “the powerbroker” only turns up books about Duplessi. (…)

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