Documentary: Taken For A Ride

Taken for a RideWhy Does America Have the Worst Public Transit in the Industrialized World, and the Most Freeways?

Taken for a Ride reveals the tragic and little known story of an auto and oil industry campaign, led by General Motors, to buy and dismantle streetcar lines. Across the nation, tracks were torn up, sometimes overnight, and diesel buses placed on city streets.

The highway lobby then pushed through Congress a vast network of urban freeways that doubled the cost of the Interstates, fueled suburban development, increased auto dependence, and elicited passionate opposition. Seventeen city freeways were stopped by citizens who would become the leading edge of a new environmental movement.

With investigative journalism, vintage archival footage and candid interviews, Taken for a Ride presents a revealing history of our cities in the 20th century that is also a meditation on corporate power, city form, citizen protest and the social and environmental implications of transportation.Taken for a Ride was funded by the Independent Television Service (ITVS).

Click here to watch the video.

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1 comment

    • j cat on March 25, 2013 at 11:19 am

    the loss of the trolley system of the past was done in part to improve the security of the country by installing a highway system to provide rapid response to attacks/ disasters.

    I doubt any of us in the transit business would want to go back to that type of transportation. I bet most would not want to even operate those vehicles.

    problem we have today is our major metro areas require modern public transportation systems to reduce traffic and create a better attraction of visitors to these areas. The funding of this is the problem because we are in deep debt. I would rather we take funds from a NASA MARS program to fund public transportation as an example . do you want to go to work or go to MARS ?

    The installation of these highway systems made our country expand . created a way for goods to move rapidly as compared to rail.

    A good example what would happen if the public transportation systems shutdown is when New York city got flooded. Now if your living in Oklahoma type area, you would not be concerned about any funds to go to an area that must be with public transportation. this is the problem with funding these systems. many from these outback areas will not approve any funds for public transportation, only funding for roads/military projects.

    To be a destination city, a public transportation system must be updated or replaced if need be , to accommodate the new technology.

    when the trolley system of the past was removed , the cost was then transferred from government to the individual . taxes on fuel and vehicles helped pay for the construction . at first the speed of moving around with a private vehicle was so much better than taking a trolley ride.

    then the roads got jammed up. construction delays, more traffic not so much a good way to travel now in/thru the big cities.

    our government failed to update the rail lines with the required funding and most importantly a specific plan on the updating. a lot of transit funding was wasted .

    the cost of fuel will be rising. this may help get the government moving to provide a plan to improve public transportation . fuel prices should be over $5 / gallon soon . some predict $7/gallon.

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