Transportation to Support Rural Healthcare – Models and Innovations
These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve as a source of ideas and provide lessons others have learned. Some of the projects or programs may no longer be active. Read about the criteria and evidence-base for programs included.
Other Project Examples
Updated/reviewed July 2020
- Need: To provide transportation to rural seniors who are no longer able to drive.
- Intervention: SMiles, a rural senior transportation program, was implemented in Blount County, Tennessee.
- Results: Since 2013, SMiles has provided over 35,000 rides to its rural seniors.
Updated/reviewed December 2019
- Need: Free, non-emergency air travel for people of all ages with serious medical issues or other compelling needs.
- Intervention: A network of more than 1,400 pilots donate their piloting skills, aircraft, and all costs associated with flying to help families and individuals in need in the 13 western states of the United States.
- Results: Families are able to receive vital medical treatment and have other needs met that might not otherwise be possible because of financial, medical, or geographic limitations.
Added November 2019
- Need: Free, non-emergency air travel for children and adults in need of medical treatment far from home who live in rural areas of the Northeast.
- Intervention: Angel Flight East, a free medical flight service, has expanded their focus to include more patients from rural areas, as well as those with rare medical conditions.
- Results: Since adding the Rural & Rare Reach program, Angel Flight East has made contact with nearly 100 Critical Access Hospitals and more than 200 FQHCs for referrals. Ongoing promotional efforts with rural health organizations are helping to increase the awareness of flight services to rural locations.
Updated/reviewed October 2019
- Need: To reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by drunk driving in Isanti County.
- Intervention: The SafeCab program provides alternative transportation home for bar patrons who would otherwise drive impaired.
- Results: The program is credited with a significant decrease in DUI (Driving Under the Influence) arrests and the lower average corresponding BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) levels in Isanti County.
Updated/reviewed October 2019
- Need: To reduce the incidences of repeat drunk driving.
- Intervention: Repeat DWI (driving while intoxicated) offenders were given a staggered sentence, allowing them to serve their sentence in segments of time, typically separated by several months to a year. The offender was able to file a motion to request a waiver for the remaining sentence period(s), if able to show that he/she maintained sobriety.
- Results: The incidence of recidivism, or crime relapse, has been reduced among offenders given staggered sentences, by comparison to offenders given traditional DWI sentences. The program has also reduced the average cost of jail time that otherwise would have been served from a full sentence.
Added August 2019
- Need: To make a rural community more inclusive for older adults.
- Intervention: Winnemucca, Nevada, holds monthly meetings around topics like health, housing, social events, and transportation.
- Results: So far, these meetings have led to more accessible transportation and parking. The effort went countywide in 2017.
Updated/reviewed June 2018
- Need: Reliable transportation options for employment and medical access needs for residents of Paris, Texas.
- Intervention: A regional government coalition, already operating a rural regional transportation system, partnered with a rural community's medical, education and business entities to expand and improve the community's transportation system.
- Results: Paris Metro now provides a low cost/no cost transportation option for local residents, including those with special transportation needs. After implementation, decreased emergency room visits were noted, likely due to reliable transportation for scheduled medical appointments.
Updated/reviewed March 2018
- Need: Transportation to medical appointments for children and expectant mothers living in rural Alabama.
- Intervention: Kid One Transport provides rides to medical appointments for clients who otherwise have no other means of transportation.
- Results: The program has transported 385,000 children and expectant mothers to and from medical appointments. Children have recovered from life-threatening illnesses and are experiencing a higher quality of life.
Updated/reviewed February 2018
- Need: To provide transportation to patients in South Central Missouri who otherwise have non-existent, limited, or expensive transportation options to and from healthcare appointments.
- Intervention: A non-emergency transportation service that offers rides for patients demonstrating a transportation need for timely primary and preventive care access.
- Results: HealthTran has helped to improve healthcare access and long-term health outcomes, as well as reduced preventable hospitalizations and unnecessary emergency department visits.
Updated/reviewed January 2018
- Need: Public transportation options in a rural 8-county area in northwest Minnesota.
- Intervention: A coordinated public transportation and volunteer driver system which serves northwest Minnesota.
- Results: Increased ridership and affordable access to transportation for residents of 8 counties in rural, northwest Minnesota.
Last Updated: 7/9/2020