The ITE 2007 Annual Meeting and Exhibit in Pittsburgh, PA, USA--Getting to the Point

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, planning - history, mode - rail, mode - tram/light rail, mode - mass transit


Water transportation, Trolley cars, Transit, Trams, Road transportation, Railroad transportation, Rail transportation, Public transit, Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), Mass transit, Maritime transport, Marine transportation, Local transit, Institute of Traffic Engineers, Inclines, History, Highway transportation, Economic development, Cities, Canals, Canal transit


This article provides an overview of the early transportation history of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Water transportation was a vital part of the city's early growth, since the city was located at the convergence of 2 rivers. Rail transportation came to Pittsburgh in 1852, which extended the industrial basin by joining the river transportation that brought raw materials to the factories that then shipped finished materials using the railroads. The city was also the site of a unique, if short-lived, canal system. Intra-city transportation was provided by a trolley system and several inclines that were used to move people, freight and vehicles between significant elevation changes in the river valleys and adjacent hills. Although highways were constructed through Pittsburgh beginning in the 1930s, the city still has no interstate beltway and only a limited number of interstates. Pittsburgh will be the site of the Institute of Traffic Engineers' annual meeting in August 2007.