In the early 2000s (um…the Noughties? We still don’t have a good name for that decade, do we?), I, a Detroit-area kid with the auto industry in my blood, read a fascinating book. It was “The End of Detroit” by Micheline Maynard. One of the big points that stuck with me from that book was the Great American Streetcar Conspiracy — that the big players in the auto industry deliberately set up the United States’ dependency on personal transportation.
One of Regensburg’s landmarks is the Steinerne Brücke. It’s been under renovation for over a year now, and while part of the bridge is off-limits, the construction company has hung up a mural showing that Regensburg used to have streetcar service on the bridge. A local native coworker told me that Mercedes-Benz paid to have Regensburg’s streetcar lines removed (can anyone confirm this?).
So I guess it wasn’t just a U.S. phenomenon.