The administration's report paints a gloomy picture of the nation's ground transportation system -- trains, highways, subways, and reached the unnerving conclusion that security among the various agencies, government bodies and transportation systems is "inefficient" and "poorly coordinated."
"A lot of work needs to be done," a senior administration official told ABC News.
More than eight years after the deadly Sept. 11 attacks, coordination among agencies and governments when it comes to threats and data to ground transportation systems "is not functioning properly" and "established roles and responsibilities have not been well communicated and are being disregarded," the "Surface Transportation Security Priority Assessment" report warns.
As a security issue, land transportation doesn't get the same attention as air transport and no one agency takes responsibility, but experts say it is far more vulnerable to terrorist attacks than airplanes and airports.
Brian Michael Jenkins, a counter-terrorism expert with the Mineta Transportation Institute, says available data indicates since 9/11, there have been 125 deaths from eight aviation-related attacks, outside of war zones. During that same period of time, terrorists have staged almost 700 attacks on surface transportation systems -- such as London, or Madrid -- killing 2,500 people and causing almost 10,000 injuries.
Terrorists have targeted surface transportation around the world "20 times as often as they've attacked airplanes," said ABC News consultant and former counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke. They are "much harder to protect than airplanes, which is why terrorists attack them more."
It's easy to see why, the senior administration official says. These are far more accessible areas where people congregate, have bags, and are in enclosed spaces.
Experts say the Transportation Security Administration, states and cities are not doing enough to address these threats. Per the report, no one single agency is taking the lead on all "security risk-related information on transportation systems and assets."
"Surface transportation has not received the same attention, the same priority and the same resources as aviation security," Jenkins said.
In fact, states and cities often point to each other for responsibility.
"It's very vulnerable and we're not doing enough," Clarke said on "Good Morning America." In New York City, for example, there are 4,000 cameras in subways, "but we recently discovered about half of them don't work because there's not enough money to do the maintenance to have them working properly."
"There's a fight between states and cities that run the subways and federal government, and they're pointing to each other as to who's in charge," he added.