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Rural Health Information Hub

Implementation Challenges

Rural communities may face unique challenges when implementing transportation programs. With a growing elderly population in many rural regions of the country, there is an increasing demand for reliable, efficient transportation options and other types of mobility assistance. Limited resources are always a challenge, and while collaborating with partners to build transit programs that can serve the broadest population is an ideal scenario, in practice, this may not always work. Competing priorities and funding streams may make it difficult for programs and organizations to work together towards a common goal. Significant institutional barriers can also contribute to this challenge.

In more remote areas of the country, where resources are especially scarce, transportation programs will have to cover large distances to provide adequate services. With an increased demand for transportation services and limited funding opportunities, it is inherently difficult to serve some of these areas.

By designing programs that best fit the needs of communities, different implementation practices can account for many of these challenges. For example, programs in frontier areas that need to cover large distances can use scheduling systems to ensure optimal coverage at many different times of day. One potential solution for programs is to create a transit schedule that covers different zones at various times and days of the week.

Resources to Learn More

Planning for Transportation in Rural Areas
Presents steps for rural transportation program planning. This outline serves as a general guideline for developing a transportation program. It highlights planning steps such as analyzing current transportation systems and conditions, and performing a needs analysis to help identify challenges that may arise when implementing a program.
Organization(s): Federal Highway Administration