How the Car Destroyed America: Episode 1

(or listen on Spotify | YouTube)

This is The Red Line Podcast's very first episode, a history of cars and how they destroyed the American city. We cover the development of cars from Henry Ford's assembly line to the boom of the motor industry. Listen in agony as car infrastructure and the suburb-to-big-city commute ruin whole communities and take our downtown from a bustling hub of life to a parking-lot-riddled desert punctuated by massive highway systems. We explain the rise of the American suburb, how it's a radical type of housing development, and the long shadow it has cast on society as we know it. Learn about the fundamental and unsolvable inefficiencies of cars, the peril of induced demand, and take a smooth segue to what The Red Line Podcast is all about: public transportation!



  1. [1] Financial Times: The road to ruin — how the car drove US cities to the brink (
  2. [2] Rails and Trails: Facts and Figures of the Automobile Industry, 1920-1930
  3. [3] Classic Car History: Cars of the Fifties
  4. [4] Grist: Pavement is replacing the world's croplands
  5. [5] FinancesOnline: The Number of Cars in the US in 2021/2022: Market Share, Distribution, and Trends
  6. [6] The National Academies Press: Assessing and Managing the Ecological Impacts of Paved Roads, p. 41
  7. [7] Engineering World: The myth of the efficient car
  8. [8] Bloomberg CityLab University: Induced Demand
  9. [9] Wikipedia: Urban renewal
  10. [10] Bloomberg CityLab University: The Who’s Who of Urbanism (Robert A. Moses)
  11. [11] Vox: Cars take up way too much space in cities. New technology could change that.

Further reading