Strengthen Rural to Urban Connections
What makes the CONNECT Beyond region so unique and special is the diversity of its geography. The CONNECT Beyond region is made up of rural communities, suburban areas, small historic downtowns, and a large metropolitan city. Residents who live and work in these different areas have their own unique transportation needs and challenges. A key component of CONNECT Beyond is focused on improving mobility and transportation choices for those living in our rural communities that rely on transit to get to critical medical appointments, jobs, and daily activities.
Who Benefits from the Connections?
Thousands of people in rural areas rely on public transportation services for most of their transportation needs. While enhanced mobility services in rural areas tend to directly or indirectly benefit almost all residents living in rural communities, they are especially beneficial for a few groups in particular.
About 32% of elderly residents (65 years and older) in the CONNECT Beyond region live in rural communities. To allow elderly residents to age in place and maintain independent living, they must have access to reliable mobility services to access key locations and events that may be far from their homes, such as grocery stores, community gatherings, religious services, and healthcare services.
Many individuals from low-income households rely on alternative mobility services for most of their transportation needs. Approximately 36% of our region’s transit-dependent population (individuals who depend on public transportation services for most of their transportation needs) live in rural areas throughout our region.
People with Disabilities
Individuals with disabilities may have limited driving abilities and rely on alternative mobility services to get to everyday destinations and vital appointments. To enhance mobility for persons with disabilities who live in rural areas, it is crucial to provide reliable and comprehensive alternative mobility services to get them to where they want to and need to go.
Many youths in rural areas around America feel disconnected and cut off from educational and employment opportunities because they don’t have reliable access to public transportation services to get them there. Providing enhanced and expanded public transportation services is a key way to enhance connectivity, especially for people living in rural areas. Providing rural area residents with enhanced and expanded public transportation services will improve access to educational and employment opportunities while still allowing them to live in the communities they call home.
Benefits of Rural Mobility Services
- Access to Employment and Educational Opportunities
- Access to Healthcare Services
- Access to Encourages Active Lifestyles and Community Engagement
To learn more, refer to Section 4 in the CONNECT Beyond Regional Mobility Plan.Read the Final Plan
How We'll Get There: Rural to Urban Recommendations
More General Public Use TripsTimeframe: Near-Term
There is latent demand for general use trips. Right now, there is funding for medical trips but by adding resources, more trips can be made and allow users to connect to work, education, and other opportunities.
Enhance Regional Coordination and RepresentationTimeframe: Mid-Term
Community transportation providers serving rural areas should be contacted during the planning of fixed-route transit service changes, not after implementation.
System StreamliningTimeframe: Mid-Term
CONNECT Beyond suggests our regional partners work together to study opportunities for system and service consolidation between the region’s urban fixed-route transit providers and the community transportation providers.
Regional Scheduling SoftwareTimeframe: Long-Term
CONNECT Beyond recommends the region’s community transportation providers adopt a unified regional paratransit scheduling software to help better coordinate paratransit services throughout the region.