Prior to cars, people used horses and buggies to get around and clung to coastal settlements to use the waterways for trade. There were not many roads in America at the time, and the roads were usually in poor condition.
From 1800 to 1900, transportation evolved to meet the needs and demands of growing cities, such as Chicago. For example, the steel mills needed iron ore and coal delivered, and they depended on steamers for this task. The railroad system was heavily relied upon for both commercial and pedestrian use. Electric trolleys were in common use before cars were mass-produced by Henry Ford.