Posted: April 24, 2023 by Kelly Murphy-Redd
You have often heard roadways referred to as arteries. Just as arteries in the human body transport the blood necessary to our survival, transportation is the life-blood of economic development, the economy itself.

When you search transportation, the Department of Transportation comes up first and underneath the name it says:  

“To improve the quality of life for all American people and communities, from rural to urban, and to increase the productivity and competitiveness of American workers and businesses.”

That sounds a lot like economic development. The statement uses clear, definable, action words.
Go to their website and it says something a little different and the difference matters.

“To deliver the world’s leading transportation system, serving the American people and economy through the safe, efficient, sustainable, and equitable movement of people and goods.”

This statement is harder to define and on its face, not working right now. Transportation stories lately have not been about safety or efficiency. And if they mean environmentally sound when they use the word sustainable, then that’s not working either. Our transportation secretary says there are 1000 train derailments every year!

The New York City DOT states their system “provides for the safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible movement of people and goods in the City of New York.”

Not too many people in New York City think transportation is safe or environmentally responsible. They can’t think this as people are attacked on the subway constantly, homeless people live in the subway trains and stations and people are using the sidewalks as toilets.

I mentioned the transportation stories in the news. There’s the train derailment in Ohio and numerous other train derailments. The Ohio derailment is an environmental and humanitarian disaster. A huge part of our economy is dependent on rail service.

What about the airplane near misses we keep hearing about? Airlines are lowering standards for their pilots and actually lowering the cardiac health standards. These decisions are political and due to the fact there is a shortage of pilots. As with rail, air travel is critical to our economy.

The “software glitch” that grounded air travel on a scale not seen since September 11, is another serious example of the failure of our transportation systems.

Lives depend on a safe transportation systems not just quality of life, which is important. Economic survival depends on a safe and efficient transportation systems.

Policies, high standards and competency affect our transportation system. We have bad policies that focus on anything other than the real problems and the solutions to those problems. We have entities lowering standards which affect competency.

We obviously need our nation’s transportation infrastructure improved and standards and competencies raised. Money is going to other areas instead of safety and infrastructure.

What does the future look like if this trend continues?