Access to Jobs, Economic Opportunities, and Education in Rural Areas

For the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), EBP developed guidance for rural transportation planners and providers to improve accessibility in rural areas.  

The team defined a framework for the integration of accessibility evaluation in rural transportation policy, investment, and planning decisions. To do so, EBP conducted a review of the state of the practice, including interviews and case studies. The team also identified and documented tools for evaluating accessibility and the data sources required to support those tools.

The data gathering identified needs and challenges related to rural transit and on-demand services that provide critical services for non-drivers and people with limited access to cars. The team developed guidance with strategies to address rural access needs, including 1) regional and statewide cooperation, 2) rural stakeholder engagement, 3) evaluation tools and practices, 4) staff capacity, and 5) securing funding. The guidance describes how these strategies can be used in each step of the planning progress from goal setting to implementation and monitoring.

The final report-NCHRP 1059 "Access to Jobs, Economic Opportunities, and Education in Rural Areas," includes five illustrative case studies that showcase how some states and regions are leveraging these strategies, while also documenting challenges they continue to phase. As part of the guide, EBP developed a set of hands-on worksheets. The team tested the worksheets in a practitioner workshop, prior to finalizing them for inclusion in the published report.