What does the author suggest about the public’s declining interest in trains?

PassageGO TO QUESTION

Read the passage below, and answer the vocabulary questions that follow.

Trains and Automobiles

Though trains saw widespread use over the course of the 19th century, the last hundred years have seen nothing but a decline in the use of railroads in the United States and a rapid growth in American car culture. While trains have begun recently to attract a little more interest from urban planners, there is no sign at all that the general public shares that interest. What accounts for this progressive loss of interest in train travel? What could have made Americans become so enamored of their cars?

Efficiency alone cannot be the answer we are looking for. Both automobiles and trains consume similar amounts of energy. The average car gets about 13 passenger-kilometers per liter of fuel, no improvement at all over trains, though if trains are forced to run with few passengers, they can actually be much less efficient than cars. Consequently, if one’s objective is to conserve energy, neither mode of transportation offers any real advantage, with one exception: interurban light rail and subways are about 25 percent more fuel efficient than cars.

Both rail and automobile transportation depend on expensive infrastructure; highway construction in the United States averages several million dollars per kilometer, and can easily go much higher. Railroads are almost as expensive to build and railroad operators must also pay to maintain their locomotives and rolling stock. Therefore, there does not seem to be a particular advantage in either fuel efficiency or cost of construction and maintenance associated with either automobiles or trains.

On the other hand, trains hold very real advantages in safety. In the United States alone, more than 40,000 people die every year in car accidents, and hundreds of thousands more suffer personal and financial injury. By contrast, rail fatalities seldom number more than a few hundred per year worldwide. On a train, one need never worry whether the approaching driver is intoxicated or distracted by his cellular phone, nor does one need to worry about falling asleep at the wheel, striking a deer crossing the road, or any of the other myriad hazards that face automobile drivers on a daily basis. One would think such a safety record would attract more enthusiasm from potential passengers.

In addition to safety, with the exception of scheduling, riding a train generally offers far more peace of mind than relying on a car. Once on board the train, the passenger can read a newspaper, prepare for work, or simply relax and admire the scenery passing by. Driving, on the other hand, requires the patience to endure traffic jams and the rude person behind who drives with his horn. Then there is the maintenance, insurance, and perhaps a monthly bill the car owner has to pay.

Nevertheless, cars do offer a real advantage in versatility. It is never necessary to wait for the car—it’s ready when its driver is, and is never behind schedule. Plus, there’s plenty of room in the trunk for carrying groceries or skis. And a car can go all those places where no rail lines have been built. Additionally, cars can be customized and infinitely varied to suit any kind of need or taste.

However, even versatility is probably not the best answer. The truth lies in the way Americans romanticize the car. For every teenager, getting his or her driver’s license is a rite of passage. Teenagers often consider themselves to be adults once they can drive. In fact, Americans have a whole body of popular culture, from dating to work to weekend vacations, built around the car—and nowhere does the train put in an appearance. Americans find the tangible, versatile car to be a marker of self-identity in a way that trains could never be. No matter how efficient they are, how safe, or how inexpensive, trains cannot offer the thrill and empowerment provided by the automobile. No teenager dreams about cruising to pick up his or her date on the train. No businessperson wants to spend money on train tickets—he or she wants the prestige of a showy new sports car. The parent with children doesn’t want to take the train either. He or she must make frequent trips to soccer practice, ballet lessons, and scout meetings and a car is the most efficient way to do so. Until cars become so expensive to purchase and operate that they are out of reach of most people, trains and other forms of transportation will always take a back seat to the automobile.

Published on by Kaplan Test Prep
Premium

Question

What does the author suggest about the public’s declining interest in trains?

AnswerChoose the correct answer.Choose all that apply. Correct Partially correct Incorrect Don't Know

  1. A
    Correct Answer
    It was never shared by urban planners.
  2. B
    Correct Answer
    It occurred quickly after the car was invented.
  3. C
    Correct Answer
    It happened slowly over the course of the century.
  4. D
    Correct Answer
    It was due to the inefficiencies of rail transportation.
0 users answered this question.

Explanation

Try a similar question!
Practice One More

Sorry

Don't know? See answer. Members onlySign up for free to see the answer! Don't know? See answer.
This question does not have an explanation yet.
Or practice a similar question Practice 1 More Question
Try a similar question!
Published on by Kaplan Test Prep
Premium
Favorite

Assign this pod Create New Group You don't have any group to choose from yet. Create your first one!

This pod belongs to a paid product. Group members who receive this pod as an assignment will be asked to purchase the product.
You don't have any group to choose from yet. Create your first one!
1 0 1 Choose a group or create a new one.
1 Name this group.
/ chars.
0 1 2 2 Add your students' emails.

Invite students by entering their email addresses below or distributing the 6-digit alphanumeric Group Code shown after the group is created.

You can enter multiple email addresses separated by commas or new lines.
You can enter multiple email addresses separated by commas or new lines.

The email address belongs to you. You cannot add yourself as a group member. You can preview the assignment email by clicking on the "Send Test Email to Yourself" button below.

Assignment will be sent to

  • x
0 2 3 Name this group.
/ chars.

The email address belongs to you. You cannot add yourself as a group member. You can preview the assignment email by clicking on the "Send Test Email to Yourself" button below.

This group does not have any members. Add new members.

Assignment will be sent to will be added to your group.

  • x
  • x

not joined this group yet.

2 3 4 Preview and assign. A test email has been sent to you. Please check your inbox.
This assignment will be emailed to your students once they join the group via their group invites.
You already assigned this pod to this group.
2 3 4 Preview and assign. A test email has been sent to you. Please check your inbox.
This assignment will be emailed to your students once they join the group via their group invites.
You already assigned this pod to this group.

You have assigned this pod to successfully!

Using their dashboards,students can also enter the Group Code to join this group. This Code expires on .

To receive each student's results by email, please instruct your students to click on "End Practice" once they have completed the pod.

You have created new group

Using their dashboards,students can also enter the Group Code to join this group. This Code expires on .

Share
Add to Draft Pod
You can only add questions to pods that have not been published yet. Add to a new draft pod.
Create New Draft Pod

Title*

Description

Sorry

There was an error creating this pod. Please try again later.

Resend Pending Invites

Pending invites can be resent once per day.

You are resending an invites to students:

    Invites Resent

    You have reinvited students successfully!

    Resend Pending Invites

    Sorry, something went wrong. Try again later, or contact us at info@learningpod.com

    Do you really want to retake this pod?

    This will delete your current answer choices and practice results. If you received this pod as an assignment, your teacher will be notified of the retake.