In 1910 the average American city was a small and densely populated place where the dominant form of intracity transportation was the electric streetcar. Despite the release of the Model T in 1908, less than one percent of Americans owned a car. In contrast, by 1970, almost every family in the US owned at least one automobile. Not only did city size grow between 1910 and 1970, but city population became more evenly spread around the city center: suburbanization. Can the adoption of the automobile account for the decentralization observed throughout US cities during this period? A model of a linear city is developed in which agents choose both whether or not to own a car, and where to live. The model?s steady state is calibrated and estimated to the US data. Declining automobile prices are used to account for increased automobile ownership and suburbanization. The model is able to match the data on car ownership and decentralization for the period 1910 to 1970
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