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.
Barriers to reliable transportation include:
Study participants stated:
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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.
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
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Have you tried any of these practices? Have you had success working with these populations in your area?