Rural Transportation Options

A person assists another person using a wheelchair into an accessible van.

Picture from Healthy Community Living (www.healthycommunityliving.com).

Nearly 30 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the lack of accessible public transportation is still a major barrier to employment, healthcare access, and other aspects of community participation for people with disabilities. Transportation is critical to maintaining employment and social connections in rural areas. Isolation, which can result from a lack of transportation, contributes to poor physical and mental health.

Though public transportation barriers exist in both urban and rural places, there is a lack of knowledge about how people with disabilities access and use transportation in their rural communities.

The Rural Transportation Options project will begin to compile this knowledge through two different surveys. The first, Exploring Transportation Models and Use, asks the following questions:

  • How many rural public transportation users have a disability?
  • How is transportation related to an individual’s health and how do they participate in their community?
  • Is access to community resources (such as Centers for Independent Living) related to transportation access?

The second survey, Transportation and Community Participation, asks the following questions:

  • How does transportation use influence decisions about community participation for people with disabilities living in rural areas?
  • What is the relationship between transportation and social capital?

The information gathered from these surveys will begin to develop an evidence-base and policy recommendations to promote transportation development for rural people with disabilities. These results can be used to advocate for improve transportation services and to develop effective policies to increase the availability of accessible transportation services.

RTC:Rural News