SAT Writing and Language Practice Test: America's Love for Streetcars

Home > SAT Test > SAT Writing and Language Practice Tests

Test Information

Question 11 questions

Time 9 minutes

See All test questions

Take more free SAT Writing and Language Practice Tests available from

America's Love for Streetcars

The history of the electric trolley car can be traced to 1887; during this era, electric motor technology was perfected. The street railway industry immediately hailed the new mode of public transport as a solution to horsecars, which were horse-drawn vehicles that ran on rails. Extremely popular, trolley lines had a large impact on cities such as San Francisco.

A streetcar, or trolley, is an electric vehicle that runs on rails; 1 they connect to form a system, typically providing public access to urban centers. Besides transportation, other benefits of the new technology abounded—for example, by World War I, streetcars had become America's fifth largest industry, employing over 100,000 workers nationwide.

2 During the summer, special open trolleys called "breezers" allowed riders to enjoy cool air on hot days, but the main attraction was that electric cars 3 were faster, more speedy, and arrived sooner than the previous horsecars. The demand resulted in the creation of larger and more powerful trolleys, such as double-deckers.

The public's desire to travel between cities prompted a change in the late 1800s to intercity trolleys, also known as "interurbans." These electric trolleys were economical and thus were less expensive to ride than steam railroads.4

[1] As more automobiles became available, the competition caused trolley companies to cut back. [2] Henry Ford, however, changed the world with the 1908 introduction of the Model T, a car the average worker could afford. [3] Ultimately, this major factor led to the demise of such lines. [4] The World War II years ignited renewed interest in, and use of, some interurban lines, since gasoline and tire 5 rationalizing limited the use of automobiles. [5] This 6 resumption was short-lived, though, because once new cars hit the post-war market, people again chose mobility over scheduled public transportation.7

A modern resurgence in electric trolleys began in 2009, when federal funding became available for streetcar projects in key cities such as Atlanta. 8 Critics argue that modern streetcars aren't any faster than local buses. Critics argue that this is the reason modern streetcars will never be cost-effective. They also point out that a lot of streetcar projects start as economic development projects rather than as transit projects.

Today, most commuters still get to work by car; 9 in fact, very few Americans in any metropolitan area use public transportation. Some communities are 10 embracing a revival, with light rail systems as the second generation of streetcars. Portland, Oregon, for example, boasts a successful light rail system serving the broad metropolitan area with an annual ridership of 39.12 million residents interested in car-free living.

From trolleys to light rail, the evolution of public transportation shows that if it is 11 reliable frequent comfortable, and fast, it's on the right track.


  • B. these rails
  • C. it
  • D. which

2. Which choice most effectively establishes the main topic of the paragraph?

  • A. People loved the trolleys.
  • B. Most people today have never seen a trolley in person.
  • C. Trolleys remain popular outside America.
  • D. The popularity of trolleys did not last in the United States.


  • B. were faster and speedier
  • C. were faster
  • D. were faster, speedier, and arrived sooner

4. Which choice adds supporting information to the paragraph?

  • A. Trolley routes within cities nonetheless continued to be common, however.
  • B. Decades later, long-distance buses would become the transportation of choice.
  • C. Although some still viewed railroads romantically, their time was coming to an end.
  • D. Farmers saved money by using interurbans to get products to markets in large cities.


  • B. rationing
  • C. reasoning
  • D. rating


  • B. reparation
  • C. renaissance
  • D. renovation

7. To present ideas in a logical sequence, sentence 2 should be located

  • A. where it is now.
  • B. before sentence 1.
  • C. after sentence 3.
  • D. after sentence 4.

8. Which sentence most effectively combines the sentences to create more varied sentence structure?

  • A. Critics argue that modern streetcars aren't any faster than local buses and therefore will never be cost-effective.
  • B. Critics argue that modern streetcars aren't any faster than local buses and that they will never be cost-effective.
  • C. Critics argue that modern streetcars aren't any faster than local buses and critics argue they will never be cost-effective.
  • D. Critics argue that modern streetcars aren't any faster than local buses, so critics say they will never be cost-effective.

9. Which choice completes the sentence with accurate data based on the chart?

  • B. however, public transportation is crucial to some cities.
  • C. it is only in rural areas that public transportation is still a valuable service.
  • D. nonetheless, public transportation use is on the rise in all metro areas.


  • B. accepting
  • C. tolerating
  • D. understanding


  • B. reliable—frequent, comfortable, and fast,
  • C. reliable, frequent, comfortable and fast
  • D. reliable, frequent, comfortable, and fast,