Massachusetts has a rich history in transportation. No other state in the country can list such an array of inventions in the field of transportation, including firsts in bridge construction, steam-driven and two-cylinder engines, and subways. The unique physical terrain and shape of the state have influenced the routes of its transportation links. Roads generally curve along the coast, follow river valleys, and skirt the more gentle landforms, unlike the gridlike road patterns found in many parts of the nation. Intercity transit was developed because of suburban growth. In 1889 the first large street railway to use electricity connected Boston with Cambridge, Brookline, and other towns. Boston was also the site of the nation’s first subway system, opened on September 1, 1897. After the 1920s electric streetcars were mostly replaced with bus systems.
Today passenger rail service unites many Massachusetts cities, as well as providing connections to major urban centers in other states. The state is also served by an extensive freight line infrastructure. In 2004 there were 1,765 km (1,097 mi) of operated railroad track. The state has a fine network of roads and highways. By 2007 the state had 57,949 km (36,008 mi) of public roads, including 922 km (573 mi) of national interstate highways.
Massachusetts had 8 airports, some of which were private airfields, in 2009. Logan International Airport in Boston is one of the leading U.S. airports. There is also commercial air service to Worcester, New Bedford, Hyannis and Provincetown on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket Island. Nantucket Island and Martha’s Vineyard are also served by ferries, which carry cars as well as passengers to and from Woods Hole. The Cape Cod Canal, a federally owned sea-level waterway, traverses the neck of Cape Cod from Sandwich to Bourne, a distance of about 13 km (about 8 mi). Part of the Intracoastal Waterway, the canal handles oceangoing ships and considerably shortens the water route between New England and the Middle Atlantic States. "Massachusetts" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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