Public transportation is an essential part of life in many cities around the world. The most widely used form of public transportation is the bus, which is found in almost all cities that have other types of vehicles operating as part of their public transportation system. Buses and trucks are essential modes of transport, with trucks used to transport goods and buses used to transport passengers. As it is cheaper to travel on these public transport vehicles than on any other means of transport, even those with limited financial resources can now travel to distant places or go to the destinations they want. Promising practices for increasing access to transportation in rural communities have been identified, and this toolkit provides an overview of related issues.
Depending on the needs of their community, transportation departments and private providers can organize modes of transportation in a transit system. The most common transportation systems in rural regions include fixed routes, flexible routes, demand response, volunteers, and public transportation vans. Fixed-route transportation systems use buses, vans, light rail and other vehicles to operate on a predetermined route according to a predetermined schedule. These types of systems have printed or published schedules and designated stops where passengers are picked up and dropped off. Fixed-route systems must meet the requirements described in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure that they are accessible to passengers with disabilities.
Fixed-route bus systems are the most common form of public transportation in the United States. In rural areas, traditional fixed-route services may not always meet the needs of residents, especially in communities where people don't live along major roads and bus stops are therefore difficult to access. In these cases, communities can opt for diverted fixed route systems to pick up passengers at their homes or other more favorable locations. Flexible-route transportation systems, also called diverted fixed-route systems, use a hybrid fixed-route and demand response model. Flexible route systems also use pre-programmed schedules, but they can deviate from the default route to go to a specific location, such as an important employment site, a daycare center, or a home. Flexible route services work well when deviations from the fixed route do not significantly affect regular schedules. Demand-responsive traffic involves small or medium-sized vehicles operating on flexible routes with flexible schedules that depend on passenger requests.
Passengers can use a subscription service, make advance reservations, or use real-time scheduling. The demand response model also allows passengers to use the transit service for a certain date and time. Demand response is the second largest type of public transportation service in the United States. Voluntary transportation programs rely on volunteers to carry passengers, often using their own personal vehicles. Volunteers can also drive buses, vans, or other cars to provide transportation.
Voluntary transportation programs can reimburse volunteers for gas, mileage, or other costs. While volunteer transportation programs can be low-cost and provide flexible service, identifying and training volunteers can take a lot of time and effort. In addition, rural programs may have problems insuring volunteer drivers. The National Center for Mobility Management provides resources for volunteer driver programs. Shared vans use vans that can normally carry between 5 and 15 passengers. Shared vans are similar to shared vans but with one main difference: shared vans use vehicles larger than cars.
Rural residents often use van sharing to travel long distances to their urban workplaces. Formal transportation agencies, employers, employee groups or other organizations can organize shared vans. Vanpool passengers can travel full time or part time and passenger expenses may vary depending on frequency of use or distances traveled. The cost is usually less than driving a long distance alone. The Rural Health Information Center is supported by the U.
S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) with grant number U56RH05539 (Cooperation Agreement between the Rural Assistance Center for the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy). All information, content or conclusions on this website belong to the authors and should not be interpreted as the official position or policy of HRSA, HHS or US. From small satellite cities to larger cities they also have rapid bus transportation systems as secondary public transport services compared to light rail and commuter rail. Some notable examples of medium-sized cities with BRT as a public transport hub include Silver Line in Grand Rapids (Michigan), GRTC Pulse in Richmond (Virginia) and BusPlus in Albany (New York).