President Obama starts his day getting dressed like everyone else, one pant leg at a time. So it goes with the history of transportation in Washington D.C. With few notable exceptions, our nation’s Capital has followed similar growth trends throughout history as several other cities in the US.
Washington D.C. was established by congress in 1790 and designed from scratch by architect Charles L’Enfant. L’Enfant laid the groundwork for the grand vision of an egalitarian metropolis rising out of the rural landscape. All city streets were separated into four quadrants and were oriented around, and progress from the Capitol building.
D.C.’s first electric streetcar was introduced 1862 and lasted until 1962. Like many other cities during the 60’s D.C. switched from streetcars to buses. Streetcars have been reintroduced to the transit system in later this year with lines along H Street NE and through Anacostia.
The majority of transit in D.C. is now supported by Metrobus and Metrorail providing over 341 million annual trips. D.C.'s first transit subway system was introduced in 1969 and opened in 1976.
The Capital Beltway began construction in 1957 after the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. The Beltway consists of 63.8 miles and has grown in capacity from 80,000 to over 200,000 vehicles per day.
The nation’s Capital is one of the first cities to introduce bike sharing with the launch of Capital Bike Share in September of 2010. Three months later, it has proven it’s success with over 48,000 trips in the cold of winter.