An interesting article in the Guardian on how the car came to rule American cities.
In between the wars many American cities had fully functioning electric tram systems that shuttled millions of citizens from their homes to their jobs without the need for a private car. American cities were more compact, more walkable and had vibrant downtowns that were the centre of urban life.
Even in southern California, which is now seen as the ultimate creation of the automobile, railways and trams were a huge part of life. Los Angeles was served by the largest mass transit system in the nation, including 1,000 trains a day running on the Pacific Electric Railway’s 760 miles of track.