Nearly 30 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act people with disabilities still report transportation as a significant barrier to employment, health care, and community participation. This is especially true in rural communities where public transit may be inaccessible, unaffordable, inappropriate, or not available. While many unique solutions exist, there is a lack of evidence about how people use them and how they impact the health and well-being of people with disabilities.
To address this lack of knowledge, RTC:Rural is conducting
research about rural transportation options in rural communities across
The Rural Transportation Options project, which will help
build a more complete understanding of how rural people with disabilities use
public and other forms of accessible transportation, is getting ready to begin
a pilot survey. Paper surveys will be available on public buses in Park County,
Montana later this year. There are also options to take the survey online, or
to call in and take it over the phone.
The survey includes questions about what type of
transportation the participant is using for the current trip, the purpose of
their trip, if the trip was scheduled ahead of time, and types of
transportation used in the last 30 days.
“This brief ridership survey will help us: 1) understand how
people use public transit in Park County, MT and 2) shape our survey materials
and procedures for dissemination nationwide,” said Andrew Myers, RTC:Rural
First page of the article “Transitory and Enduring Disability Among Urban and Rural People” in the Journal of Rural Health.
RTC:Rural researchers Dr. Rayna Sage, Dr. Bryce Ward, Andrew Myers, and Dr. Craig Ravesloot recently published an article in the Journal of Rural Health titled “Transitory and Enduring Disability Among Urban and Rural People.” Dr. Sage and Myers are RTC:Rural Project Directors, Dr. Ward is the RTC:Rural Statistician, and Dr. Ravesloot is RTC:Rural Director and Research Advisor.
Part of RTC:Rural’s continued research on the geography and ecology of rural disability (see Ecology of Rural Disability and Geography and Rural Disability), this article examines how disability rates vary by age, gender, and race between rural and urban places. While there has been some recent research on the intersection of disability and rurality, there is a lack of research on disability across the life span in rural places, and few studies include a measure of how people move in and out of disability over time. Continue reading →
In attendance were RTC:Rural Director Dr. Catherine Ipsen, Director and Research Advisor Dr. Craig Ravesloot, Knowledge Broker Dr. Meg Ann Traci, and Project Directors Dr. Rayna Sage and Andrew Myers attended. Dr. Traci, Dr. Sage, and Myers gave a combined six presentations on Rural Institute and RTC:Rural research. Continue reading →
From left to right, Bonnie Kelly, Bronwyn Troutman, Lillie Greiman, and Andrew Myers presenting as part of DiverseU 2018.
Rural Institute researchers and RTC:Rural project directors Lillie Greiman and Andrew Myers, along with community partners Bronwyn Troutman, Community Living Specialist, and Bonnie Kelly, Peer Advocate, from Summit Independent Living Center in Missoula co-presented a panel at the University of Montana as part of the DiverseU symposium. Their presentation was titled “Disability and the Socio-Political Environment.”
DiverseU is the University of Montana’s annual campus-wide diversity symposium. It is open to university students, staff, and community members, and features presentations, art exhibits, and guided discussions over the course of two days. DiverseU seeks to, “…explore the complexities of human experience, promote understanding, and create community through the practice of civil discourse,” according to the DiverseU website page. Continue reading →
How a space is organized shapes how you use that space. There have been many studies on how the built environment, which includes everything from roads and sidewalks to buildings and parking lots, impacts how people move through and engage with their community. We know that physical barriers in the community, such as stairs, curbs, narrow building entrances, broken sidewalks, and long travel routes can prevent people with mobility impairments from accessing community spaces and limits their ability to move around their community independently.
By removing these barriers, people with disabilities have more opportunities to do things like buy groceries, attend school, be employed, go to the doctor, and socialize or recreate as they wish. Fewer barriers in the environment can mean more opportunities for community participation. Continue reading →
To translate: to take something written in one language and express it in another. Or, to change something into a new form. This is precisely what RTC:Rural’s Knowledge Translation team does.
Knowledge Translation is an important part of making sure RTC:Rural’s research is accessible. Accessibility doesn’t refer to only alternative formats, such as Braille or screen-reader friendly—it’s also about making sure the content is easily understood, relevant, and useful to the people who are reading, viewing, or listening to that information. RTC:Rural’s Knowledge Translation team works to make sure that all RTC:Rural research is in the best format for its intended audience, be they people with disabilities and their families, service providers, other researchers, or policy makers.
RTC:Rural uses Knowledge Translation throughout the entire research process, from the research design phase to disseminating the final results. One recent example of this is in the collaboration between Knowledge Translation and the Effort Capacity and Choice project team. The Effort Capacity and Choice project examines the relationship between personal effort and community participation. To do so, the project studies the impacts of two interventions. In the Home Project Intervention, researchers install adaptive bathing equipment in the participant’s bathroom, reducing the amount of effort it takes to bathe and use their bathroom. In the Exercise Project Intervention, participants receive physical therapy in order to increase their physical capacity. Continue reading →
RTC:Rural Research Associates Andrew Myers and Lillie Greiman are headed to New Orleans, Louisiana, next week to present their research at the 2018 American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting. They will be joined by University of Montana graduate student Kourtney Johnson, who has worked closely with Greiman on RTC:Rural research. The conference is April 10-14, 2018, and features more than 6,000 presentations, posters, workshops, and field trips.
Myers is one of the three directors on the Disability Specialty Group, an AAG subgroup that focuses on addressing accessibility issues. This year, the group worked to increase the accessibility of the conference, including creating a page on the conference website with accessibility information, where conference-goers can request accommodations. The page also includes information about accessible transportation in New Orleans and tips for traveling with a disability.
“Our big point is that these things help everyone, not just people with disabilities,” said Myers. Continue reading →
This conference provides an annual opportunity for grantees of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to come together and share their latest research findings, training, and knowledge translation methodologies. This year’s conference theme is “Shaping the Future.”
RTC:Rural researchers will share their research in four presentations on the first day of the two-day conference. Continue reading →
Shower chairs and grab bars are some of the adaptive bathroom equipment used in this study. Photo from Healthy Community Living (www.healthycommunityliving.com).
What do showering, brushing your teeth, and “visiting the porcelain throne” have to do with energy levels and community participation? More than you might think, especially for people with mobility impairments.
RTC:Rural analysis of the American Time Use Survey has also shown that people with mobility impairments bathe less often, and when they do bathe they spend more time doing so. The Effort Capacity and Choice project builds on this information by investigating whether the amount of effort a person thinks they must exert affects their choices to be active at home and in their community. Continue reading →