02/07/2013 01:09 pm ET

Why Homelessness Is A Transportation Issue

For a variety of reasons, the homeless often wind up living amid transportation infrastructure: rest areas, roadside rights-of-way, the underside of highway bridges, train stations or even moving train cars or buses.

This means that public agencies better equipped to run trains or pave highways must often act as the first responders to homelessness. It’s a sad commentary on how we handle these populations – in a society that doesn't treat access to shelter as a right –- that the task falls to the front-line employees of transportation agencies untrained to do anything like this.