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US economy: history, structure, industry, energy, transport
The USA is the leader of the world economy, one of the largest in terms of territory and population of the countries of the world. In terms of the development of productive forces, the scale of its economy, the country is far ahead of any of the other developed countries. The USA is one of the most highly efficient farms in the world. The course of development of economic processes in the United States itself has a significant impact on the economy of the whole world, directly affecting the cycle and the economic situation in other countries, on the structure of the international economic volume.
In the US economy, the state accounts for 28% of GDP. The remaining 72% is occupied by the private sector. However, according to 2004 data, the share of the public sector of the national income was 47%. The result of the financial and economic crisis and the implementation of the policy of quantitative easing will increase the share of the public sector to 50% or more.
The country’s GDP in 2006 amounted to $ 13.3 trillion. The main role in making economic decisions belongs to public corporations and private companies. State intervention in the economy is negligible.
US economy history
The roots of the modern American economy goes back to the search for economic benefits by European settlers in the XVI, XVII and XVIII centuries. During this time, the New World has evolved from a minimally successful colonial economy into a small independent farm and, in the end, a complex industrial economy.
In all colonies, people lived mostly on small farms and led an economically independent lifestyle. As the colonies grew, auxiliary production developed.
By the 18th century, regional development models were defined: shipbuilding and navigation brought wealth to the colonies of New England; plantations of Maryland, Virginia, and North and South Carolina (many of which used slave labor) grew tobacco and rice; in the middle of the colony of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, they transported basic cereals and furs.
After independence, the US Constitution as an economic charter asserted that the whole country was a single or “common” market. There should not have been any tariffs or taxes in interstate commerce. According to the Constitution, the federal government could regulate trade with other countries, as well as between states, conduct uniform bankruptcy laws, issue money and regulate their value, set standards for weights and measures, establish postal departments, build roads, and establish rules governing the granting of patents and copyrights. right One of the country’s “founding fathers” and her first finance minister, Alexander Hamilton, put forward an economic development strategy in which the federal government would support an emerging industry through open subsidies and the introduction of protectionist import tariffs.
After becoming president in 1801, Jefferson (1801–1809) focused his efforts on the development of a more decentralized agrarian democracy. The rapid economic growth of the United States in the XIX century did not prevent periodic problems in the economy. New inventions and investments led to the creation of new industries and further economic growth. As transport improved, new markets constantly opened up. The steamer made river transport faster and cheaper, but the construction of railways had an even greater effect, opening up vast new areas for development. In these turbulent days there was no lack of plans for how to get rich quickly. Financial bigwigs instantly put together huge fortunes while many lost their savings. At the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries, the industrial revolution began in Europe, which quickly spread to the United States. The fate of the country and its economic system was decided by the victory of the northerners in the US Civil War (1861-1865).
Statistical indicators of the United States (as of 2012)
The slaveholding system was abolished, with the result that large cotton plantations in the South became less profitable. The industry of the North, which had rapidly expanded due to the war, grew rapidly. The rapid economic development that followed the Civil War laid the foundation for the modern industrial economy of the United States. A large number of discoveries and inventions led to such profound changes that their results were sometimes called the “second industrial revolution”. Oil was found in the west of Pennsylvania. A typewriter, telephone, phonograph and electric light were invented. They began to use freezing railway cars. Finally, by the beginning of the 20th century, the car replaced the carriage, and people began to fly on airplanes.
The structure of the US economy
The structure of the US economy is characterized by a pronounced post-industrial. Most of the US GDP (79.4% – 2004) is created in the service industries, which primarily include education, health care, science, finance, commerce, various professional and personal services, transport and communications, and the services of state institutions. The share of material production (agriculture, forestry and fisheries, mining and manufacturing, construction), thus, remains 20.6% of GDP. In the field of agriculture, about 0.9% of GDP is created, and industry produces less than 20% of GDP.
Among the developed countries of the world, the United States has practically no competitors in its industrial development. In terms of the share of services in the structure of GDP, the United States overtook the Netherlands and Israel, which, because of certain competitive advantages, specialize in services, second only to Hong Kong (the share of the service sector is 86%). However, Hong Kong is not an independent state, remaining only a special economic region of China, where the share of the service sector is less than 40%. Thus, the United States is currently the most post-industrial state.
The general pattern of ongoing industry changes is a noticeable decrease in the share of primary industries and agriculture in the economy. Among the branches of the material sphere, industry remains the most important, it still provides a high level of technical development in other areas of the economy. It is in it today that the latest achievements of NTP are accumulated first of all. The United States has one of the most highly efficient farms in the world. A distinctive feature of their economy is a focus on NTP and advanced technology. She leads in the implementation of the results of NTP in production, in the export of licenses for their discoveries, inventions and the latest developments. All this often leads to the dependence of other countries on the United States in the field of science and technology.
The role of industry in the US economy in the second half of the XX century. decreased markedly, which was reflected in the composition of the employed and the structure of GDP.
In the mining industry, the number of people employed has decreased by almost 1/3. The share of this industry is small and continues to decline, despite the significant amount of mineral resources mined. The United States produces 1/3 of the world’s mining products. Main industries: oil, coal, mining of metal ore, non-metallic raw materials. The reasons for the reduction in the mining industry are not in the depletion of deposits, but in the import of cheaper raw materials and the increasing role of mineral processing, the desire to save their resources and solve environmental problems. The coagulation of certain branches of the mining industry affects the fate of entire regions: the mining towns of ghosts, abandoned mines and mines are often found in Appalachia and Cordillera.
In general, however, the economic importance of industry as the main branch of material production persists. American industry has undergone major structural and qualitative changes since the 70s, which was caused by increased competition in the global market. The intensification of production, the introduction of scientific and technological progress, the variety of products, specialization and concentration of industry allowed the United States to retain first place among developed countries in terms of production, remain among the leaders in labor productivity and exporters of industrial products.
There are four main functional production complexes in the industry: fuel and energy, machine-building, material-producing and production of consumer goods. Parts of these complexes are included in the most powerful target military-industrial complex, with which only the military-industrial complex of the USSR competed in the world. The United States differs in industrial structure from Japan and Germany in a somewhat lower share of metallurgy and mechanical engineering with an increased share of the food, paper and printing, textile and forestry industries. Over the past two decades, the share of knowledge-intensive engineering and metalworking, chemical, petrochemical, and petrochemical industries has increased in the US manufacturing industry. The role of traditionally important sectors – metallurgy, light and food industries, and the production of building materials has declined. The total share of traditional industries fell to 1/4 of the number of employees and 1/5 of the total value of the products of the manufacturing industry, while the share of industries of the first group rose to 1/2 and 3/5, respectively. Active reconstruction and technical renewal of traditional industries are based on innovations and technology of mechanical engineering and chemical industry. The relationship between different areas of the economy and even more so between industries has increased.
Exportability of the manufacturing industry is steadily increasing (at the beginning of the 90s, about 17% of products were exported by value). Among the industries that work largely for export are electronics and electrical engineering, transport engineering, metallurgy, the chemical industry, instrument engineering, and the tobacco industry.
A leading role in the industry is played by diversified TNCs, each of which represents a system consisting of many thousands of formally independent companies engaged in the production of parts and parts and the sale of products. The process of concentration of production is combined with the organizational restructuring and territorial decentralization that has intensified in the information age. The increased cost of production (due to high wages, strict environmental requirements) stimulated the transfer of part of the production, mainly the most labor-intensive and polluting to the environment, to other countries, in particular to the border zone of Mexico. Territorial shifts in the US industry over the past 30 years have manifested themselves in a significant increase in the share of the South, which is now second only to the Midwest, the continued rise of the West and the decline in the role of the Northeast, which ranked third in the value of industrial output (after the Midwest and South) .
Material producing industries. These include the mining and non-metallic industries, ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, the chemical, petrochemical industry, rubber, plastics, woodworking, pulp and paper, and the production of building materials. All these industries are engaged in the extraction and processing of natural raw materials – mineral and forest resources. Since the mid-1970s, after the energy crisis, which has set the task of energy and resource saving, the share of this sector in industry has decreased.
Ferrous metallurgy. The United States is inferior to Japan and China for the production of iron and steel, the US share in the global steel production in 1970-1995. decreased from 20 to 12%. If in the 70s the USA smelted 132 million tons of steel, then in 1995 only 94 million tons. Ferrous metallurgy underwent a technical reconstruction; increased the proportion of electric steel. Historically, the main metallurgical areas — first in Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh) and later in Priozerye (Gary, Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo) —have emerged in places convenient for transporting iron ore and coal (by rail and Great Lakes). The role of Birmingham (South), which grew up in the late 19th century, fell sharply. During the Second World War, a plant was built in the city of Geneva (California), which did not have a local resource base, but worked for the needs of the local military industrial complex. Now the main area of metallurgy – Priozerny (Gary), using iron ore district Lake. Top. About 2/5 of ferrous metallurgy enterprises use imported raw materials. Among the plants of the Atlantic coast, focused on the import of ore raw materials, the largest in the country – in the city of Sparrows Point, operates on Appalachian coal. The monopolization of the industry remains high, the largest company, the United States, has become a corporation.
Chemical industry. The United States ranks first in the world in production and second in the export of chemical products. The presence of rich natural resources contributed to the development of the petrochemical industry. On the basis of petrochemical raw materials produce polymeric materials: synthetic rubber, chemical fibers, plastics. Over half of all chemical products are currently produced by plants in the North related to metallurgy, automotive, agriculture, light industry. The largest centers are New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, St. Louis. The second most important area – Gulf – the Gulf of Mexico zone in the South. It produces 2/3 of polymeric materials, half of mineral fertilizers and toxic chemicals. The main centers are Houston, Baton Rouge, Beaumont-Port Arthur. Energy-intensive chemical production is concentrated in the valley of the Tennessee River. A significant area of the chemical industry was formed in the West (San Francisco, Los Angeles).
Engineering. In the machine-building complex (mechanical engineering and metalworking) 2/5 of all those employed in industry work, who create 2/5 of industrial output (at a cost). High technology intensity and labor productivity with low capital intensity contributed to the transformation of this sphere into the NTP base, providing restructuring of the entire economy, integrated mechanization and electronization. Over the past 30 years, the share of general engineering and instrument-making has increased, while the share of transport engineering and electrical engineering in the structure of this sphere has decreased. The greatest changes occurred in the 80s under the influence of the military-industrial complex (hence the growth of the aerospace industry and electrical engineering) and the increased competition of Japan in the field of electronics and the automotive industry. Characterized by a high monopolization of engineering.
Automotive The car has long become a symbol of American life. Cars have 4/5 of all families. Almost 6 million people are employed in the production and assembly of cars, in trade, repair and maintenance. The automotive industry is the largest consumer of oil, lead, synthetic rubber, as well as a major buyer of steel produced in the country. Three companies – Ford Motor (whose founder Henry Ford created at the beginning of the 20th century the first plant with a production line and mass production of machines), General Motors and Chrys-Lehr produce 95% of cars. In the recent past, most cars were made in the Northeast, especially in Michigan (Dearborn, Detroit). The crisis of the 70s and 80s and the intense competition of Japanese automobile plants caused a decline in production in the United States. Only thanks to a radical reconstruction, the industry was able to regain its position, although not completely. The United States gave way in the 1980s to the first place in the production of passenger cars in Japan, but they continue to be ahead of it in terms of trucks, buses and special vehicles. In 1995, the United States produced 11.9 million vehicles of all types, while Japan made 10.2 million. The role of Michigan in the automotive industry fell, but the value of the “assembly belt” rose in Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Ohio. The reconstructed automobile industry is based on technically updated factories using robots.
Car companies in the USA have created “global conveyors” – at their numerous branch enterprises they assemble components and parts made by “parent” firms for the American market and the market of other countries. General Motors, which won the first place in 1993 among the largest industrial corporations in the world, has 755 thousand people working in 258 factories in America and Europe.
Aviation and aerospace industry. This industry is associated with the military-industrial complex. Despite the end of the Cold War and the increased desire for conversion, its positions in the economy remain. There are the largest monopolies of McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, Lockheed and others. Private companies have concentrated 9/10 of military products. The main region of ARKP was formed in the Pacific states even before the Second World War, during the war it received accelerated development, which was facilitated by the availability of a research base, infrastructure, low cost of land and favorable weather conditions. The main centers – Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego, San Jose, Anaheim – are located in California. The second important area of ARC is in Seattle, where the Boeing enterprises are located. For military orders ahead of California (1/5 orders), followed by Texas, then – New York, Missouri and Connecticut. In Texas, centers such as Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth stand out. In Houston is the center of control of space flight. St. Louis stands out in Missouri, and in the Northeast, New York, Boston, and Hartford. Space rockets take off from Cape Canaveral (Florida).
Electrical and Electronics. These industries, largely related to the military-industrial complex, developed rapidly in the 80s and 90s. The role of electronics in consumer, industrial and military products has noticeably increased. The United States leads the world in the production of energy, electronic equipment, computers and other electronic products, but is experiencing the strongest competition of Japan and a number of other countries. Japan has already surpassed the United States in the export of electronic products; it is also active in the domestic market, especially consumer electronics (televisions, video recorders). In this industry, the leading role belongs to a few companies, among which “IBM” stands out. The most important centers of the electronics industry are Chicago, New York, Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Albany, Schenectady, Anaheim, Dallas. Consumer goods production. This complex has received a traditionally large development in the country. Especially distinguished food and light industry, represented in all cities and districts by many enterprises, but characterized by high monopolization.
The food and beverage industry (dairy, meat packing, fruit and vegetable processing, tobacco) is an integral part of a highly developed agro-industrial complex. There are TNCs, such as General Foods, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, which distribute American consumer tastes, standard mass-produced products. The food industry employs 1 million people. The location of this industry depends largely on the specialization of agriculture, the wide development of transport contributed to the decentralization of production. The milling industry is most developed in the Midwest (Minneapolis, Buffalo). The meat industry, previously concentrated in the Midwest, especially in Chicago, is now represented in many centers of the Southwest (Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma). The dairy industry is developed in the Northeast and in the West (California). The production of canned vegetables and fruit juices is concentrated in the West (California) and in the South (Florida). Breweries using German brewer recipes were created in Wisconsin, Missouri, and Colorado. The tobacco industry is confined to specialized tobacco growing areas in Virginia and North Carolina.
Textile industry. The beginning of American industry was laid by textile enterprises (in 1792 the first Slater textile factory was established in Rhode Island in
Thus, the geography of the manufacturing industry changed significantly in the second half of the 20th century. These changes are associated with technological innovations, restructuring of the organization of labor, the impact of world prices and the cyclical dynamics of the entire economy. The basic sectors that produce durable goods and heavy industries, which have long been concentrated in the Industrial North, in the industrial belt of the country, retain a special role. However, they were the ones who experienced the greatest impact of economic crises, and there were seven battles after the Second World War (the latter in the early 1990s). South and West are in a more stable position. Several factors have identified changes in the territorial structure of industry, overflowing industry from the North to the South and the West. Among them are a rich natural resource base of these regions, an improved production and more modern research and development infrastructure, government regulation, the influence of the military-industrial complex, social conditions favorable for monopolies, and an investment climate. There is a general increase in industrial production in previously less industrialized areas.
Agriculture is characterized by a large scale and variety of products, high labor productivity, an increased degree of material and technical equipment, a wide development of specialization, and a significant concentration of high-quality production. In terms of total agricultural output, the United States ranks third in the world after China and Russia, and for agricultural exports for many years retain first place.
The rapid development of the industry in the past century, first of all, was promoted by the influx of European immigrants who brought experience, skills and methods of management. The second factor is the presence of fertile land and state policy that stimulated their development. The third factor is the lack of remnants of feudalism, which hampered the creation of commodity capitalist farms and family farms, in most parts of the country except the South. In modern conditions, the development of agriculture is promoted by such factors as the scientific and technological revolution, agrarian-industrial integration, government regulation and the impact of the global market.
In the system of the agro-industrial complex that was formed in the country in the second half of the 20th century, agriculture occupies a subordinate position. If, on the whole, the agro-industrial sector accounted for 18% of those employed by 1991, then agriculture was only 2.1%, while the indicators for the share in GDP were also 16 and 2%, respectively. However, agriculture remains a very important sector of economic importance, representing a basic area of great international and national importance. Nowadays, 4.8 million tractors, 662 thousand grain harvesters and a large number of other equipment are working on farms. The use of mineral fertilizers has grown. A wide network of experimental stations, public and private scientific and educational agricultural institutions helps the rapid introduction of advanced scientific methods on farms. But the growth of production costs leads to an unstable financial situation of farmers. Farm debt reaches 14-24% of the value of farm assets. Thousands of farmers go broke every year.
Over the past 30 years, the number of farms has decreased from 4 to 2 million. The process of concentration of agricultural production continues. Only in some areas there was an increase in farms due to the emergence of farm dachas, or “hobby” farms, for example, i suburban areas of the Pacific states and the Northeast.
To date, small farms dominate quantitatively (less than 40 thousand dollars of marketable products). Constituting 71% of all farms, they provide only 10% of marketable products. The share of small farms is especially high in the South. It is precisely among small and medium farms that family farms that do not employ wage labor dominate. The large ones use hired labor on a large scale. The main part of agricultural production is produced by large farms (over 100 thousand dollars), constituting 17% of the total number of farms. All US farmers are white, while there are many blacks, Indians, and Hispanics, including immigrants, among wage workers.
The ongoing concentration of agriculture can be judged by the constant increase in the average area of farms, which has now increased to 187 hectares. Land allotments are especially large in the West, where there are many large cattle-breeding ranches with vast pasture lands. The majority (2/3) of the country’s territory is privately owned, the rest belongs to the state (mainly mountainous western lands). Farmlands make up 62% of private property. Large landowners – 5% of the total – concentrated half of the farmers’ areas; 3/5 of the farmers are full owners, the rest are partial owners and tenants. However, the full owners own only 1/3 of farm land. Lease is most common in the North Center.
Characteristic of agriculture is the dominance of livestock (54% of the cost of production in 1992). The country has traditionally formed close links between agriculture and livestock. The composition of agricultural land (427 million hectares) is dominated by pastures (66%), the proportion of forage crops in crops is high.
The country has a very large-scale grain farming (in the second place after the collection of grain, after China, 298 million tons on average for 1993-1995). Among the grains, corn and wheat occupy the leading place, much of which is exported. The United States has long retained the lead as a producer of corn, which is grown almost everywhere. Corn commodity production has been concentrated on the Central Plains (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana) in the region since the end of the 19th century. received the name of the corn belt, and from the middle of the XX century. – corn soy. Most of the corn harvest goes to livestock feed, the rest is used in industry, most recently for the production of sweeteners for sugar. Wheat crops are concentrated to the west in the more arid steppe regions of the Great Plains. It is grown in the northern part of the spring, in the south – winter wheat. If corn production is characterized by high intensity, the use of a large amount of fertilizer and obtaining correspondingly high yields per unit of area, then wheat production is extensive (grain-pair crop growers prevail, small fertilizer application, relatively low yield). In the global market, the United States acts as the main exporter of wheat and corn, although competitors – Canada, Argentina, Australia for wheat, Brazil for corn – try to push them aside.
The main branches of livestock production are beef cattle, dairy farming and pig breeding. The growth of the poultry industry, the most industrialized livestock industry, continues. The productivity of livestock raising has noticeably increased (in terms of milk yield per cow, the USA came out on top – 7.4 thousand liters per year). The development of production and regional specialization played a significant role in increasing labor productivity. The vast majority of farms are specialized enterprises. From the end of the last century, specialized agricultural areas began to emerge. Back in the 1920s, a map of the country’s agricultural regions by Oliver Baker was created. Many of the “belts” recorded by him – corn, wheat, dairy farms and grass sowing – have survived to the present day. But a significant part of the territory has undergone a significant transformation. This is especially true of the South, where the famous cotton belt, which existed during the time of slavery, collapsed and ceased to exist. In its place, new livestock and crop areas, including poultry Southeast, and beef cattle (fattening) in the south of the Great Plains. The Pacific fruit and vegetable growing region has acquired a more diversified economy; Here, cotton growing, cattle feeding and dairy farming began to play a big role. The economy of Florida has also become very diverse, where beef cattle breeding and potato growing have also been added to fruit production and vegetable growing. Some parts of the territory have become more specialized: these are the areas of irrigated agriculture in the Cordillera and the Great Plains. So, Idaho became the main area of potato growing. And in the Mississippi Valley, the preserved remnant of the cotton belt turned into a specialized cotton growing area, with some addition in the form of grain farming and animal husbandry.
With the creation of the AIC, not only intraregional, but also interregional industrial relations in agriculture have increased. The fodder grain of the Midwest began to flow to the South, Southeast on poultry farms and cattle-breeding farms. The hay of the Great Plains is transported to dairy and beef cattle farms in California. The traditional ties of the pasture cattle-breeding areas of the West with the fattening farms of the corn-soybean belt, which, in essence, have long become a livestock-growing area, have also been preserved. Increasing exports increases the dependence of most areas on the world market, which affects the existing types of local agriculture. More than 20 types of agriculture in the United States reflect the existing differences in specialization and land use. intensity. level of technical equipment, concentration of production.
Energy. The United States remains the world’s largest producer and consumer of energy (1960 – more than 1/3, 1995 – 1/4 of world energy consumption). The fuel and energy complex formed in the country is well provided with local resources, supplemented by imported fuel. Significant changes took place in the structure of the country’s energy balance. If in the 40s coal was the main source of energy, in the 50s oil and gas moved to the first place (in the 70s their share reached 77%), but with the rise in oil prices the value of coal, atomic energy and even geothermal. By 1990, the share of oil and gas in energy consumption dropped to 65%, and in production to 53%. Only the role of hydropower remains stable. In general, the United States annually consumes 2.5 billion tons of equivalent fuel, i.e. 10 tons per capita (2-3 times more than in the UK or Germany; 2.5 times more than in Japan).
Over the past two decades, after a record oil production in 1972, it began to fall (1972 – 528, 1995 – 368 million tons). This was due to competition from cheaper foreign oil, as well as competition from other fuels. The role of the USA in world oil production has decreased, although they retain the second place in the world in terms of oil production. The main mining areas are Alaska, Texas, California, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Essential acquired deposits on the sea shelf, especially the Gulf of Mexico; 1 / 3-2 / 5 of oil consumed comes from imports from Mexico, Canada, and Venezuela. In contrast to oil, natural gas production continued to grow (1995 – 530 billion m3).
The main mining areas are Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico. Gas imports from Canada and Algeria are relatively small. In the oil and gas industry there are the largest monopolies, among which are Exxon, Mobil, and Texaco. Huge flows of oil and gas are sent through oil and gas pipelines, mainly from the south to the northeast, to the “industrial belt” of the USA.
The coal industry, traditionally developed in the Northeast, but having experienced a strong recession in the 50s due to the competition of oil, began to revive. Coal mining (1995 – 920 million tons including brown), now the United States is second only to China. At the same time increases and exports. The most important areas of the coal industry are in the eastern part of the country, especially the Appalachian Basin and the Eastern Internal Basin. Anthracite is mined in Pennsylvania; bituminous coal and lignite are mined in Wyoming, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania; The growth in the new sections of the Mountain West is growing fast; 2/3 of coal is produced by the open method.
The United States leads the world in the production of electricity (3.3 trillion
The trend towards energy conservation, which began in the 1970s, continues to be affected by anxiety about environmental problems (the accident at the Three Miles Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania). Of the existing (1995) 109 nuclear power units, about 1/3 are in the Northeast, primarily in New England, which is poor in energy resources. The share of nuclear energy in other Atlantic states has been increased. But the competitiveness of nuclear power plants is lower than that of the dominant TPPs on coal, given the presence of huge reserves of cheap coal.
Currently in the USA there is a highly developed and extensive transport system, including such diverse types of transport as road, air, rail. However, only the first two types can be called the main ones, since the number of people transported by them many times exceeds the number of passengers on railways. The main means of transportation of the population in most regions of the country is personal transport. Public transport, especially outside large cities, is much less developed than in Europe, although there is some form of public transport in almost every city in the United States. In addition, in some cities there is a ferry service through the water bodies. The United States with respect to land vehicles is the most automotive power in the world.
The vast majority of US cities and suburbs are created and developed with the expectation of cars and taking into account the needs of road transport. With the development of automobiles in North America, the popularity of railways began to fall, and with the construction of an all-inclusive network of highways and highways in the 50s – 60s of the 20th century, railway transport had lost its primary economic position, and if it continues to bring profit, it is only in freight traffic. Unlike European countries, which invest money in rail transport on a par with other types, the US authorities have focused on road and air transport, leaving the railway aside. As a result, private railway companies began to lose profits on passenger traffic, which led to a sharp reduction in such. Only the creation of a parastatal corporation Amtrak by the Congress in 1971 saved the passenger rail transport in the United States from complete disappearance. The popularity of trains increased slightly during the sharp rise in gasoline prices in the 1970s, and after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the ensuing air transport crisis. Natural events such as a hurricane "Katrina" in 2005 and heavy snowfall in Colorado in December 2006, once again showed how important the role rail transport can play in transporting people in emergency situations. In addition, the overloading of highways and airports invariably causes delays. All these factors contribute to the revival of Americans interest in the railway as an additional way to travel around the country.
In some large American cities there are especially extensive, carrying a daily heavy load of public transport systems, represented by its various types. In a number of especially large cities there are undergrounds. The largest and one of the oldest metro – New York. The youngest metros in the territory of the United States – Washington and Atlanta. In addition, the metro recently opened in San Juan (Puerto Rico). In almost every city there is a bus service. Trolleybus communication exists only in five US cities: Cambridge, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Dayton.
Until the second half of the 20th century, in many large cities there existed a tramway and, to a lesser extent, a trolleybus service. However, during the 50s and 60s, tram and trolleybus lines in most cities were eliminated and replaced by buses. Exceptions are cities such as San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston, in which these types of transport have been preserved. In a number of American cities there is a revival of the tram, however, new tram lines have significant differences from the traditional tram.
Modern high-speed tram lines are called light rail. The youngest light rail lines are in Denver and Minneapolis. In 2003, the line opened "Airtrain"serving new york airport