Cunningham, William J. “Correlation of Rail and Highway Transportation.” The American
Economic Review, vol. 24, no. 1, 1934, pp. 47–56. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1805887.
With this text the main subject as one can confer from the title is the relationship between rail and highway transportation. Published in early 1934, the text describes how the use of railway transportation was affected by the expansion of the highway system and the subsequent use of motor transportation within the United States. The expansion of the highway system facilitated the usage of motor transport, such as car and buses, in place of the railway system. Due to this drastic shift in modes of transport, much of the profit that originally went to the railway industry switched to highway profits. Early in the process of constructing the American highway system, there was an opportunity to easily integrate the two modes of transportation; creating a complementary system rather than two competing systems. Unfortunately this opportunity was not take advantage of, which led to today’s declining use of American railway transportation as it was essentially discarded. The piece also focuses on the missed opportunity to construct policies involving the regulation of public highway transportation that address all the wants and the needs of the public.
This text relates to other sources that I have been collecting in the aspect of how it shows the evolution of the use, or lack thereof of the railway system. A multitude of factors have affected the declining use of the railway system within America, but this is a different kind of cultural influence. Instead of being a purely cultural shift, there are economic aspects of the highway system that allowed for it to gain traction over the railway system. It is also intriguing to think about the possibility of an intertwined highway and railway system, and how supposedly it could have been done with ease. This text gives traction to a different factor that steered the American society away from the use of not only the use of trains for the transportation of people but goods, as the rise of the “trucking” industry. Questions that arise after reading this texts are hypothetical situations: What would the integrated highway/railway system look like and how would it work? If railway hadn’t been essentially disregarded for highways, what would it look like today and would the American public have a different perception of it? Could agencies have been created to reinforced the policies/manage the wants and needs of the American people as society progressed and expanded?