RTC: Rural project sets out to explore what types of transportation people in rural areas use

June 13, 2019

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 Project Director.  

The Americans with Disabilities Act passed nearly 30 years ago, yet the lack of accessible public transportation is still a major barrier to employment, healthcare access, socializing, and other aspects of community participation for people with disabilities, especially in rural areas.

Many previous studies have shown how transportation barriers negatively affects people with disabilities. However, there is a lack of specific knowledge about how people with disabilities access and use the transportation that is available to them in their rural communities.

“While transportation can be a major problem, uniquely rural solutions exist,” said Myers. “However, they are often informal and lack evidence of their use or impact. This project will help develop an evidence-base and policy recommendations to promote transportation development for rural people with disabilities. These results can be used to advocate for improved transportation services and to develop effective policies to increase the availability of accessible transportation services.”