Background Info

On May 16, 1931, the first trolleybus service began in London, England. Trolleybuses, also called streetcars, are powered by electricity transmitted by overhead wires. Many cities in the United States have trolleys, including San Francisco, Philadelphia, and New Orleans. The London trolley fleet, for much of its life the largest system in the world, operated until 1962.
 
Trolleys can be inconvenient because their initial infrastructure is expensive, rails and overhead wires take up space, and the system can pose a danger to cyclists and pedestrians. However, because they run on electricity, trolleys are less expensive to maintain and operate, quieter, and less polluting than buses with gasoline-powered engines. 

Vocabulary

Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry

electricity

Noun

set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and flow of electric charge.

expensive

Adjective

very costly.

infrastructure

Noun

structures and facilities necessary for the functioning of a society, such as roads.

initial

Adjective

first.

streetcar

Noun

public transportation, usually electric, that runs on rails. Also known as a trolley.

transmit

Verb

to transfer electrical energy in bulk.

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Editor

Caryl-Sue, National Geographic Society

Producer

Mary Crooks, National Geographic Society

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