Statement of Significance (as of designation - November 4, 1993):
Until the late 1920s, there were no tunnels or bridges to carry the ever-increasing vehicular traffic between the Nation's largest city and the mainland; all automobiles, trucks, and horse-drawn vehicles were carried across the Hudson River by ferry. The Holland Tunnel, opened in 1927, was the first subaqueous tunnel in the world specifically designed for the requirements of automobile traffic. Its design was based on an extensive research program conducted to determine the effects of auto emissions on tunnel motorists, and the most efficient method of ventilation to eliminate the associated health and safety risks. Virtually all subaqueous automobile tunnels base their ventilation systems on these findings.