How Have Cars Changed the World?

Cars changed the world in several profound ways, including facilitating and expediting transportation and travel, enabling movement of populations from cities to suburbs and even improving economies. Although car production began in the 1700s, the craft of American auto making launched commercially in the early 20th century. Car production started in France around 1890 then spread to the United States with assistance from automotive pioneers Ransom E. Olds and Henry Ford.

Ford Motor Company and Oldsmobile launched the first commercial vehicles for Americans. These cars, though not perfect, gave Americans freedom to travel farther and faster. Americans, for the first time, embarked on vacations. Journeys previously lasting weeks were whittled down to days with cars. The increased volume of travelers necessitated more roads, highways, bridges and other supportive infrastructure, and that need provided jobs for Americans in the heavy highway and construction industries. Ultimately, a larger road network encouraged even more travel and allowed transfer of goods, products and services over longer distances. Cars brought a sense of unity to the American population too. Previously separate communities in rural, city and suburban areas enjoyed new-found opportunities to leave their geographical confines to explore other areas of the country. Perhaps most importantly, cars increased accessibility to critical institutions such as schools and medical facilities.