This session explores case studies and surveys of transit needs in rural communities in the U.S. Participants will learn about estimating the demand for services within and between rural and small comunities. Case studies and surveys were conducted at the local, regional, and national scales to identify needs and trends in rural public transportation.
Adapting to Challenge: Examination of Older Adult Transportation in Rural and Small Communities
Megan Bond, Florida State UniversityShow Abstract
Jeffrey Brown, Florida State University
James Wood, University of Texas, Arlington
Rural and small communities in the United States are home to a notably higher proportion of older adults (those aged 65 and older) than urban or suburban areas, and this proportion is expected to grow significantly over the next decade. Public transportation can play an important role in meeting the mobility needs of older adults in these communities, but transportation providers face significant challenges serving older adults in these settings. Using a set of case studies, the authors explore strategies that providers are using to try to address these challenges and increase older adult transit use. These strategies include the use of partnerships, cost reduction strategies, and individualized outreach to older adults. Case study participants report generally positive results of their efforts, yet most assessment rests on anecdotal evidence. There is a need for better data to determine whether critical mobility needs are being effectively served.
Estimating Demand for Intercity Bus Services in a Rural Environment
Jeremy Mattson, Upper Great Plains Transportation InstituteShow Abstract
A significant need exists for creating a model to estimate demand for intercity bus services, especially in rural areas, as existing models have their limitations. The general objective of this research is to develop an intercity mode choice model that can be incorporated into a statewide travel demand model to estimate demand for rural intercity bus services. Four intercity transportation modes are considered in the study: automobile, bus, rail, and air. A stated preference survey was conducted of individuals across the state of North Dakota, and a mixed logit model was developed to estimate a mode choice model. Results from the mode choice model show the significant impacts of individual, trip, and mode characteristics on choice of mode. Gender, age, income, disability, trip purpose, party size, travel time, travel cost, and access distance were all found to have significant impacts on mode choice. This study was conducted in the largely rural state of North Dakota, but results could be transferable to other areas with similar geographic characteristics.
Exploring Transit’s Contribution to Livability in Rural Communities: Case Study of Valley City and Dickinson, North Dakota
Ranjit Godavarthy, North Dakota State UniversityShow Abstract
Jeremy Mattson, Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute
This study investigates the nexus of transit and rural livability by conducting case studies in the North Dakota communities of Valley City and Dickinson. While there are many factors that influence the livability of a rural community, transit is an important contributor. For each of the two North Dakota communities considered, public/resident surveys, local transit rider surveys, and stakeholder interviews were conducted to understand differing opinions on livability and how transit contributes to livability.
In both Valley City and Dickinson, surveys of residents showed that they believe that affordable housing, low crime, quality healthcare, overall cost of living, quality public schools, and available jobs are the most important factors contributing the livability of a community. While transit was not among the top factors, survey respondents expressed considerable support for providing transit services and funding it through various sources. Residents in both cities expressed the opinion that transit should be provided in their community as a transportation option for seniors and people with disabilities, those who choose not to drive, and those who cannot afford to drive. Transit riders in both cities indicated that transit is very important to their quality of life, and stakeholders from both communities expressed the sentiment that transit is a critical lifeline for people who are elderly and/or have a disability, individuals with no vehicle, and those who cannot drive.
Linkages that Connect Customers with Specialized Transportation Services and Programs: A State DOT Toolkit for Design, Implementation and Evaluation
Will Rodman, TSS Paratransit
Livability and Willingness-to-Pay: Rural Transit Case Studies
Jonathan Brooks, LINK Houston