As the Industrial Revolution progressed, the populations in urban areas swelled leading to congestion. With the increase in people, came an increase in the use and demand for horses. They were needed for personal and business related transportation. At the turn of the 20th century, the horse could no longer serve as the chief method of transportation.
There were many reasons why urban planners in major cities around the world sought for ways to bring order into the streets. First, horses were unpredictable. Even a good rider on horseback or a skilled coachman might not be able to rein in a frightened horse in time. Horses are skittish and any shock can send them out of control. Second, the streets were used by horses and pedestrians at the same time. There was no thought of where children should play or where people should walk. Pedestrians, horse drawn carts and people on horseback all moved around at the same time in the streets. Third, the increase in the amount of horse manure and urine on the city streets had exceeded the ability of cities to clean up fast enough. The results were large open lots where the waste matter was disposed of. This brought flies and disease in its wake. Fourth, horses were expensive to maintain. Business owners who used them for transportation worked them as hard as possible and put them down when they got sick or collapsed.
As the automobile came into usage, people at first considered it a very risky form of transportation. As improvements were made people began to consider it as a preferred alternative to the horse. Unlike the way we view cars as a major source of pollution today, the automobile was considered a cleaner form of transportation than the horse. By 1920 America had begun what is now called “the love affair with the automobile.” Changes in pedestrian behavior were affected by public awareness campaigns and motorist safety courses offered by such automobile clubs as AAA in the early 1920s. People learned that it was better to walk on the pavement and leave the streets to the cars and trolleys that were now dominant forms of transportation in the big cities and medium sized towns.