I was anything but jaded on the subject of transportation when I began my internship at Kentuckians for Better Transportation earlier this summer. In fact, I knew close to nothing about the topic, and struggled to see how it applied to me. But, as I quickly discovered over my ten weeks with KBT, transportation is absolutely essential in every person’s life.
After traveling around Kentucky, interviewing proponents of safe transportation, attending several meetings and forums, and observing state government, I am now an avid advocate for healthy transportation. I support transportation that is safe, efficient, and open to improvement. With that said, I have learned that there is no way to perfectly correct transportation. Logistically and financially, it is impossible “start over”. However, transportation is malleable enough to be improved, and I believe everyone should continually be open to positive changes for our roads, waterways, airlines, rails, and public transit.
Essentially, I have come to three conclusions while interning at KBT:
First, all modes are essential. There is no hierarchy within the transportation network. Each mode must do their part in order to make transportation work as a whole.
Second, transportation would struggle to exist without the concerted effort of advocates within the government and community.
Third, transportation is the foundation for globalization. It is embedded in our connections, exchanges, and relationships with other communities. The global market would not exist without the transportation of goods. The world economy flourishes when the transportation network is healthy.
Finally, KBT’s mantra is “Transportation Matters,” and this summer it was my privilege to find out why. I believe transportation matters because it is an integral part of living a life outside of yourself. In order to go on vacation, to vote for your government, or even to eat an orange that was grown in Florida–transportation must be involved. Without it, you could not live your current lifestyle, and you would not be able to approach life with a worldview or sense of interconnectedness with others. The transportation network enables the human global network to exist. It builds a connection between you and someone far away, and provides access to products and resources that are not nearby. This expands our horizons, and is, in my opinion, why transportation matters.
If we can support transportation, improve it, make it safer, and make it more fluid, we will see direct improvements in our day-to-day life. And because it concerns everyone, everyone should be concerned with it.
I know I still have a lot to learn, and that excites me. While I do consider myself to be a novice, I feel empowered to spread my knowledge and do whatever I can to promote transportation throughout Kentucky and beyond.
It has been a privilege to intern for KBT, and I would like to thank the Kentucky Press Association for such an enlightening opportunity.