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Public Transit in Rural Communities


Approximately 10 million older adults currently reside in rural areas in the United States. AARP produced this fact sheet as part of its Rural Transportation Toolkit to demonstrate the role public transit can play in ensuring high quality of life among older adults.

Key Points

This fact sheet uses both statistics and testimonials to outline the major benefits of public transit, particularly in rural areas. Rural America has been hit particularly hard by the recession, and improved transit programs can help older adults remain an active part of the community.

Other fact sheet highlights include:

  1. Public transit’s benefits to older adults include protection of mobility, access to services such as medical care, and even help getting to and from work.
  2. The benefits to a rural community include support of the local economy, stabilizing property value in otherwise declining areas, and the creation of a safe transportation option for older adults who can no longer safely drive themselves.
  3. The fact sheet includes several messages for policy makers. Encouraging coordination across service systems, improving the dissemination of information, and increasing the funding base for transit programs are the major points.
  4. There are three main types of transit service that rural communities can consider implementing: fixed-route service, demand response service, and flex-route service. These models are characterized by how vehicles are deployed and how passengers obtain the service.

How to Use

This fact sheet provides strong support for the benefits of rural transit programs. Policy makers in rural areas can use this fact sheet as a guide for the implementation of such transit programs and the continued benefit of older adults in their communities.

View full report: Public Transit in Rural Communities (PDF – 316 KB)

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