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.

Elderly Populations

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.

Low-Income Populations

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 Trips

Timeframe: 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 Representation

Timeframe: Mid-Term

Community transportation providers serving rural areas should be contacted during the planning of fixed-route transit service changes, not after implementation.

System Streamlining

Timeframe: 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 Software

Timeframe: 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.

View the Full List of Recommendations