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Rural Health Information Hub

Transportation Models

Transportation is a social determinant of health (SDOH) that affects rural community members in multiple ways. Transportation can affect access to healthcare services, social services, employment, and educational opportunities. The Rural Transportation Toolkit offers information, resources, and best practices for rural communities seeking to implement transportation programs that can help improve access to needed services and opportunities.

Transportation Access Approaches

Some communities focus on increasing access to transportation in rural areas with the goal of promoting economic development and improving quality of life. The Rural Transportation Toolkit describes several approaches that rural communities have implemented to improve access to transportation.

Active Transportation Approaches

Rural communities may also work on strategies for increasing the walkability and bikeability of rural communities, which can contribute to improved safety for pedestrians and increased opportunities for physical activity. This approach could include Complete Streets initiatives, which ensure safe access to streets for walking, biking, driving, and public transportation. The Rural Transportation Toolkit describes active transportation considerations for rural communities.

Examples of Rural Transportation Programs Addressing SDOH:

  • Rural Economic Assistance League, Inc. (R.E.A.L. Inc.) is implementing a program using an integrated behavioral health model called the Transportation for Rural Integrated Health Partnership (TRIP). This program is funded through the Methodist Healthcare Ministries' Sí Texas: Social Innovation for a Healthy South Texas project. The program is addressing the critical need for transportation access in the region for rural residents with severe mental illness and is improving health outcomes and well-being for this population, as well as reducing no-show medical appointment rates. The TRIP program provides transportation to health and wellness appointments, programming focused on improving health literacy, and also provides social support to participants.

Program Clearinghouse Examples