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Developing Solutions to Transportation Barriers: Strategies that Work

Research Summary


Finding reliable transportation is a barrier to employment, health care, and community participation for people with disabilities in rural communities across the United States.  A 2011 study by the University of Montana’s Rural Institute identified strategies for working with people to develop solutions to transportation barriers.

Key Findings

Barriers to reliable transportation include:

  • Limited or nonexistent public transportation.
  • Social costs of relying on family and friends.
  • Cost of fuel, maintenance, and insurance of personal vehicles.

Study participants stated:

  • Integrating transportation issues into vocational rehabilitation counseling sessions was key to meeting their needs.
  • Conversations about developing community transportation strategies were helpful.

    Put it into Practice

    Tips and tools to help you apply best practices at work.

    Strategies that support consumers to develop transportation solutions include:

    • Provide self-advocacy training to help build self-reliance around transportation issues.
    • Support consumers to develop a plan for securing rides, save money to cover transportation costs, and/or relocate for easier access to work.
    • Teach networking skills to help consumers connect with family, friends, and community groups around carpooling and ridesharing.
    • Seek opportunities for transportation reimbursement of employment-related travel until consumers receive their first paycheck.
    • Advise consumers to ask about employer-sponsored transportation, especially when work hours fall outside the availability of public and private transportation options.
    • Learn your agency’s policies on funding the purchase or repair of personal vehicles, including driver training and licensing.

    More About the Research

    Study recommendations also include the use of a voucher model for people in need of transportation. In this model, riders purchase vouchers for rides from a wide variety of volunteers and local organizations.

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    Learn More

    Ipsen, C., Colling, K., and Goe, R. (2012). Transportation: A barrier to successful employment outcomes among rural VR clients. Missoula, MT: University of Montana RTC:Rural

    Find It in the Project E3 Library

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