Rural Transportation: Challenges and Opportunities

Publication Date: November 20th, 2017
Publication Type(s): Policy Brief
Topic(s): , , , ,
Author(s): Henning-Smith C, Evenson A, Corbett A, Kozhimannil K, Moscovice I

Transportation, as it relates to health and health care, is widely acknowledged to have unique features in rural communities, but there is limited research on specific challenges and potential policy interventions to alleviate them. This policy brief uses survey data from 113 key informants across all fifty states to describe challenges and opportunities related to rural transportation.

Key Findings:

  • 113 key informants from all fifty states reported rural transportation challenges across six distinct, interrelated themes: infrastructure (mentioned by 63%), geography (46%), funding (27%), accessibility (27%), political support and public awareness (19%), and socio-demographics (11%).
  • Most key informants highlighted problems across multiple themes, illustrating the complexity of meeting the transportation needs of rural residents.
  • Improving rural access to transportation services is, in the opinion of nearly all key informants, an area of critical importance to rural populations.
  • Policy interventions should aim to improve awareness of existing transportation services; address accessibility for all riders; share best practices between states, communities, and health care facilities to improve efficiency; and build partnerships that cross traditional organizational and sector boundary lines.


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