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Patterns of Economic Development

Transportation

The transportation network of North America is extremely well developed in most parts of the conterminous United States and in southernmost Canada. A remarkable system of limited-access interstate highways was built in the United States beginning in the 1950s, and the country in addition has a wide-ranging network of other all-weather roads. The rail network also is well established; it is critical for many types of freight transport but is a relatively unimportant passenger carrier. Air traffic grew considerably after 1945, and an expansive network of routes was created. Inland waterways, particularly the St. Lawrence Seaway-Great Lakes system and the Mississippi-Missouri river system, are important freight-transportation routes. Central and northern Canada and Alaska have only limited surface transportation facilities and depend heavily on air service. The interior transportation systems of Mexico are unevenly developed. All three countries have extensive modern facilities for handling oceangoing vessels.

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