Economics of Rural Transportation for Elderly and Disadvantaged Populations Grant uri icon


  • We are assembling a group of established researchers and early career professionals (Ph.D. students and / or assistant professors) with a strong interest in rural transportation to participate in the 2016 Rural Public and Intercity Bus Transportation (RIBT) Conference and subsequently collaborate on a white paper and related published materials. The assembled group of participants in the RIBT conference will engage in discussions with transportation experts through the conference routes (track sessions) and by hosting a booth at the conference expo. Participants will meet as a group during the conference to develop a white paper on the needs for economic research related to rural transportation, especially among the elderly and disadvantaged populations. The participants will continue to collaborate on the white paper, outreach materials, presentations at academic conferences, and a journal article via email and web meetings after the conference.As with all important social issues, many disciplines are involved in research concerning mobility for the rural elderly and other disadvantaged populations. However, research on the economics of public transportation targeting these groups is scant. Interactions between economists, transportation researchers, and service providers, while currently limited, are crucial to improving the efficiency of rural transportation services. The need for improved rural transit for the targeted populations is significant because many rural communities have aging populations and widely varying transportation services and opportunities. The aging baby boomer generation will only intensify the situation as they age in place and move to rural communities (Rosenbloom 2004; U.S. Department of Agriculture 2007).We focus on the rural elderly but realize that similar issues are faced in providing transportation to other rural disadvantaged populations, including handicapped, minority and poor individuals. Although the remainder of this document primarily references rural elderly, issues affecting other disadvantaged populations will be considered throughout the project. Furthermore, many of the same populations who rely on public transportation are clients of other regionally provided services (e.g., health and mental health services for rural populations), and economic research within those fields is relevant. Goals and ObjectivesThe long-term goal of the proposed conference is to enhance the provision of rural transportation options that strengthen regional economies and improve quality of life for the rural elderly and other disadvantaged rural populations. Effective improvements in rural transportation for the elderly will lead to rural community development and overall general improvements in transportation in rural settings. Research-based improvements in the transportation sector are also expected to inform research and policy in other aspects of regional rural service provision. The project aims to catalyze research on the economics of rural transportation by convening established and early career professionals with an interest in rural transportation topics to identify priorities, establish a network of collaborators, and publish pieces that can be used to help obtain research funding. Further, the white paper will provide guidance to the USDA on transportation needs of rural, agriculture-dominated communities

date/time interval

  • 2016 - 2017