Solutions to the Challenge of Meeting Rural Transportation Needs: Middle-Aged and Older Adults' Perspectives

Moon Choi, Amy M Schuster, Nancy E Schoenberg
Journal of Gerontological Social Work 2019 February 6, : 1-17
This study aimed to explore how the aging population in Appalachia manages its transportation and plans for the transition to non-driving and to seek possible solutions to the challenge of meeting rural transportation needs. Four focus groups (N = 38) were conducted, supplemented by a questionnaire, in Appalachian Kentucky. The results showed that few alternative transportation existed except a local paratransit service and informal transportation support. Compared to older adults, middle-aged adults reported a greater willingness to use mobile phones and the Internet to arrange transportation if they were available. Participants also recommended expanding the use of existing transportation in the community - such as church vans - to better meet the aging population's needs. The findings suggest that partnership between government, non-profit, and private sectors is needed, not solely focusing on a tax-dependent solution. Additionally, information and communication technology-based transportation management system would help maximize the use of scare but existing resources in rural areas.

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