2009 Student Research Conference:
22nd Annual Student Research Conference

Innovation and Ignorance: Manhattan Island's Struggle for Better Transportation
Peter M. McCall
Dr. David Robinson, Faculty Mentor

From the 1860s until 1904, the City of New York experimented with many different solutions to its massive public transportation problem; the answer was right under their feet, though. The subway system on Manhattan Island, when it finally opened, was one of the first of its kind, combining electrical power and subterranean tracks. The island's unique topography and political climate, however, made the developmental process difficult and long. Because of political corruption and poor timing of the initial efforts of the technological innovators, the city was forced to deal with slow transportation, as the booming population teemed in the squalid streets. It seemed like a miracle when things finally came together to create one of the world's most extensive and efficient public transportation systems. This technological development was plagued by all manner of problems, from economic crises to crooked officials. Timing was everything, and the results were worth the wait.

Keywords: New York, Subway, Inventors, Curruption, Tweed, Elevated, 1904


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 42-5
Location: OP 2115
Time: 2:15

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