The top nine threats to transportation, according to Kansas University’s Transportation Research Institute:
• Transportation planning. Political competition for federal funds hinders good sense, efficiency and economic sustainability of systems.
• Congestion. Rush-hour travel delay has doubled since 1982.
• Energy prices and independence. Transportation sector is 97 percent dependent on oil.
• Global warming. U.S. transportation sector generates nearly a third of U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions, and about 9 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions.
• Finance and investment. The account for federal highway programs is $4.3 billion short for this year, as revenue from fuel taxes declines.
• Deteriorating infrastructure and capacity. One in eight bridges is “structurally deficient,” about the same number considered “functionally obsolete.”
• Human capital. The country is running short on transportation engineers, innovators, white-collar workers and — yes — even researchers.
• Driver distraction. More than 1 million drivers are on their cell phones at any point during the day, and all are 5.36 times more likely to be in an accident than other drivers.
• Aging drivers. Elderly drivers are more likely to get into accidents, and baby boomers are getting older.