A HISTORY OF COMMUTER TRAVEL ON THE POTOMAC RIVER SERVING THE WASHINGTON, D.C. AREA

The report traces the history of people and goods movement on the Potomac River in and around Washington, D.C. It begins with a description of early ferry boat services. Increasing demands for the movement of goods led to a proliferation of ferry operations before 1800. Coincidental with this development were demands for increased bridge construction, often as an alternative to prohibitive tolls charged by the private ferry owners. The author notes particularly the impact of certain bridges erected during this period on proximate river travel. The beginning of the 20th century is cited as a watershed after which improved rail and highway links across the Potomac caused a continuous erosion of demand for ferry service. Lastly, the report examines more recent attempts to establish highspeed commuter transportation on the river using hydrofoil craft. A 1962 demonstration of the concept was terminated after initial testing due to insufficient funds. A final attempt to revive ferry service was undertaken in 1965, but also closed down for financial reasons.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Consortium of Universities

    Urban Transportation Center, 1717 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC  USA  20036
  • Authors:
    • Glidden, H R
  • Publication Date: 1971-6

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00057978
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Urban Mass Transportation Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DC-URT-3
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Oct 22 1978 12:00AM