The Department for Transport is not meeting most of its targets and lacks a "clear strategy" to put it right, a committee of MPs has concluded.
The DfT's efforts on air quality have been criticised
Targets for congestion, air quality, public transport and carbon dioxide emissions, are being missed, it said.
Of seven targets, the department was meeting only two, for road safety and rail punctuality, the report claimed.
The DfT said it did not agree with the committee's findings, but recognised there was still work to do.
Commons transport committee chairman Gwyneth Dunwoody said: "This is a terrible picture of failure."
"The department's only successes are against road safety and rail punctuality targets.
"And I imagine that most rail users would be surprised to hear their experiences described as the pinnacle of the department's annual achievements, while success against the road casualty targets is subdued by the daily toll of death and injury."
The committee said it was "dismayed" at attempts to improve air quality and said the DfT appeared to have "given up" for now on improving bus services.
It also criticised the performance of Tube maintenance company Metronet, the nationwide introduction of bus concessions and the rail franchising system.
The DfT, which spent £13.5bn in 2005-6, needed to take bold measures to improve people's experience of British transport, the report said.
But Ms Dunwoody said the department had not presented any evidence to convince the committee that there would be any radical change over the next five years.
"Without this vision, it also lacks a timetable of policies which are necessary to bring improvements," she said.
Ms Dunwoody also said road pricing would not solve all the problems of the road network, and public transport had to be improved and made more affordable as well.
The DfT was also accused of not "pulling its weight" on tackling climate change and improving air quality - which should be made a priority.
In response, the DfT said it did not agree with the committee's characterisation of its work, but welcomed its support for its "measured approach" on road pricing.
It said public service agreement targets for rail punctuality had been achieved six months early and the target for road safety was "on track".
Progress was being made on the climate change and air quality targets although, a spokesman added: "We agree there is no room for complacency."
The department was continuing to work towards targets on congestion and bus patronage - for which it had announced new policies.
"We are investing record amounts in transport, but we fully acknowledge there is much still to do," the spokesman added.
"We will respond more fully to the Committee on the detail of the report in due course."