Eleni Bardaka, North Carolina State University
Noreen McDonald, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ruth Steiner, University of Florida
Xia Jin, Florida International University
Jeffrey LaMondia, Auburn University
The ability to access private or public transportation is fundamental for everyone to connect with life sustaining and social activities. Transportation disadvantaged populations, which include elderly people, people with disabilities, low-income households, and households who do not own a personal vehicle, face mobility challenges due to limited options of accessible and affordable transportation services. The population below poverty living in the suburbs, where public transportation options are scarce, has been dramatically increasing in the US. Similarly to other counties, the US is also facing an increasing elderly population, who has special transportation needs. These trends pose challenges to transportation agencies who are seeking for innovative approaches to serve disadvantaged populations. Simultaneously, long-existing problems of equitable access to healthcare and transportation services for rural areas remain unsolved. This project takes a holistic view on the transportation needs of disadvantaged populations and seeks to identify viable and equitable solutions through the provision of emerging mobility services. An interdisciplinary team of faculty from five universities in the STRIDE partnership will study the travel behavior of transportation disadvantaged groups in suburban and rural areas as well as the needs of the ageing population, will identify critical gaps in transportation access and access to healthcare for disadvantaged groups, and will work with transportation agencies to propose innovative services and partnerships that will improve access for vulnerable populations.