The history of Virginia’s economy is tied to the history of transportation in the state. The early canals and first railroads facilitated the movement of agricultural products from the Piedmont to cities along the Fall Line, en route to eastern Virginia. When coal became an affordable energy source in demand both nationally and abroad, port cities grew in response and Virginia became a shipbuilding center. The invention of the automobile necessitated the building of a network of roads that increased commerce but at the same time ravaged unspoiled segments of the landscape. Most recently the accessibility of the Newport News harbor—deep enough to accept supertankers—has become a national hub of import and export activities. Explore below the impact of transportation on Virginia history.