Smarter Planning for Rural Communities

Plan­ning is the mech­a­nism through which com­mu­ni­ties con­trol their des­tinies. It reflects the prin­ci­ple that peo­ple should accept what they can­not change, have the courage to change what they must, and achieve the wis­dom to know the dif­fer­ence. It is the antithe­sis of com­plain­ing, and blam­ing, and pray­ing for mir­a­cles. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly urgent in the many rur­al com­mu­ni­ties.

The Problems

Rur­al com­mu­ni­ties face var­i­ous chal­lenges that can be addressed through plan­ning:

Per­cent of Pop­u­la­tion Aged 65 or Old­er

Percent of population aged 65 or older (https://www. Ugpti. Org/resources/reports/details. Php? Id=1032)

Disease and disability rates (https://www. Ruralhealthinfo. Org/topics/chronic-disease#urban-comparison )

State traffic deaths versus rural population

Rural and urban suicide rates (https://www. Mdedge. Com/psychiatry/article/229345/depression/suicide-america-urban-rural-divide )

 

Rural and urban covid vaccination rates (https://www. Cdc. Gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/social-media/mm7109a2_vaccinationcoverageruralvsurban_image_04march22_1200x675-medium. Jpg )

 

Rur­al-Urban Dis­par­i­ties in Mor­tal­i­ty in the US from 1999 to 2019

Rural-urban disparities in mortality in the us from 1999 to 2019 (https://jamanetwork. Com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2780628 )

Gender minority youths (https://i0. Wp. Com/dailyyonder. Com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/screen-shot-2021-12-02-at-10. 39. 46-am. Png )

Nashville area commute duration (https://transweb. Sjsu. Edu/research/2064-commute-duration-dashboard-guide )

 

This is not to sug­gest that rur­al com­mu­ni­ties are “bad” or that every­body should live in cities; every com­mu­ni­ty type has advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages, as sum­ma­rized below. How­ev­er, every com­mu­ni­ty, includ­ing rur­al areas, need to hon­est­ly assess their strengths and weak­ness­es, eval­u­ate prob­lems and plan solu­tions.

Advan­tages of Rur­al and Urban Geo­gra­phies

Rural

Urban

Low­er-den­si­ty = more land per capi­ta

More prox­im­i­ty to nature

More tra­di­tion­al indus­tries

Less con­ges­tion

Less expo­sure to noise and air pol­lu­tion

Slow­er demo­graph­ic change

More tra­di­tion­al cul­ture

Greater eco­nom­ic pro­duc­tiv­i­ty

More eco­nom­ic inno­va­tion

More eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ties

Greater prox­im­i­ty reduces trans­porta­tion costs

More dynam­ic change

More demo­graph­ic and cul­tur­al diver­si­ty

More tol­er­ance of diver­si­ty

 

Who is to Blame?

Most of the pre­vi­ous­ly iden­ti­fied prob­lems reflect a com­bi­na­tion of struc­tur­al and demo­graph­ic fac­tors, such as those described below.

Structural/Physical

Social/Demographic

Phys­i­cal iso­la­tion

High­er trans­porta­tion costs

High­er costs of pro­vid­ing util­i­ties and ser­vices

Less diverse ser­vices and indus­tries

Old­er

Poor­er

More sta­ble (more like­ly to live in their birth com­mu­ni­ty, with estab­lished social net­works)

More tra­di­tion­al val­ues

More cul­tur­al­ly homoge­nous

 

For exam­ple, because peo­ple are more dis­persed, rur­al res­i­dents must spend more time and mon­ey on trans­porta­tion, and are more vul­ner­a­ble to trans­porta­tion prob­lems, for exam­ple, if their vehi­cle fails, they lose their abil­i­ty to dri­ve, or fuel prices spike. In addi­tion, it costs more to pro­vide pub­lic ser­vices, such as roads, emer­gency response, schools, and health­care in rur­al areas.

Tra­di­tion­al­ly, rur­al res­i­dents accept­ed low­er-qual­i­ty ser­vices, such as unpaved roads, vol­un­teer fire depart­ments and one-room schools, but increas­ing­ly, rur­al res­i­dents demand high­er qual­i­ty ser­vices, despite their high costs. If mea­sured based on out­comes, such as num­ber of doc­tors per capi­ta, the qual­i­ty of health­care ser­vices avail­able in a com­mu­ni­ty, or res­i­dents lifes­pans, you could con­clude that rur­al res­i­dents are treat­ed unfair­ly, but mea­sure based on inputs, such as per capi­ta fed­er­al and state spend­ing, rur­al res­i­dents receive sig­nif­i­cant­ly more, indi­cat­ing that their pub­lic ser­vices are sub­si­dized by rur­al res­i­dents. This reflects a com­bi­na­tion of struc­tur­al con­di­tions, due to the high­er costs of pro­vid­ing pub­lic ser­vices in dis­persed areas, and demo­graph­ics, since rur­al res­i­dents tend to be old­er, less healthy and poor­er, and so depend more on pub­lic ser­vices and assis­tance pro­grams.

Many of the prob­lems iden­ti­fied above are exac­er­bat­ed by risky behav­iors. Rur­al res­i­dents are less like­ly to wear seat­belts, exer­cise reg­u­lar­ly, or be inoc­u­lat­ed against dis­eases than urban­ites. Rur­al res­i­dents also have low­er edu­ca­tion attain­ment, in part because some dis­re­spect high­er edu­ca­tion and pro­fes­sion­al exper­tise. Such prac­tices and atti­tudes must change for rur­al com­mu­ni­ties to become health­i­er and more eco­nom­i­cal­ly suc­cess­ful.

In my prac­tice I have worked with many rur­al com­mu­ni­ties and small towns. These have gen­er­al­ly been very pos­i­tive expe­ri­ences, but I also see some dif­fi­cul­ties. Too often, rur­al com­mu­ni­ty advo­cates com­plain and blame rather than search for solu­tions with­in their con­trol.

For exam­ple, I recent­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in a Sus­tain­able Rur­al Trans­porta­tion pan­el at McGill Uni­ver­si­ty’s Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Research Sym­po­sium. My pre­sen­ta­tion reviewed the trans­porta­tion prob­lems fac­ing rur­al com­mu­ni­ties and rec­om­mend­ed var­i­ous mul­ti­modal plan­ning strate­gies – and bicy­cling improve­ments, and inno­v­a­tive pub­lic tran­sit fund­ing strate­gies. How­ev­er, oth­er pan­el mem­bers insist­ed on fram­ing rur­al com­mu­ni­ties as vic­tims. They argued that rur­al com­mu­ni­ties lack pub­lic tran­sit ser­vices because they don’t receive their fair share of provincial/state/federal tran­sit fund­ing. That mis­rep­re­sents how pub­lic tran­sit ser­vices oper­ate. Tran­sit sys­tems are ini­ti­at­ed by local gov­ern­ments who pro­vide base fund­ing, and cre­ate a man­age­ment orga­ni­za­tion which may apply for and receive addi­tion­al exter­nal funds, usu­al­ly for cap­i­tal projects (pur­chas­ing vehi­cles and build­ing facil­i­ties). Sim­i­lar­ly, pedes­tri­an and bicy­cle facil­i­ty , and com­plete streets road­way design, are pri­mar­i­ly local poli­cies. A com­mu­ni­ty that lacks walk­ing and bicy­cling facil­i­ties or tran­sit ser­vices should pri­mar­i­ly blame itself.

Sim­i­lar­ly, Michael Hib­bard and Kathryn I. Frank’s recent arti­cle, “Bring­ing Rural­i­ty Back to Plan­ning Cul­ture,” claims that plan­ning is biased in favor of urban cul­ture and against rur­al com­mu­ni­ties. I don’t think that their argu­ments make sense, and their con­clu­sions encour­age com­plain­ing and blam­ing rather than plan­ning. Con­trary to their claims, the field of plan­ning is diverse; it includes region­al, land­scape, water­shed, resource, and provincial/state plan­ning that give ample recog­ni­tion to rur­al con­di­tions. There is no rea­son to argue that rur­al com­mu­ni­ties vic­tims of urban plan­ning bias.

Hib­bard and Frank claim that, “Urban cul­ture, and thus plan­ning, tends to pri­or­i­tize effi­cien­cy over com­mu­ni­ty. Plan­ning would bet­ter attend to the chal­lenges fac­ing rur­al areas if it rec­og­nized that rur­al cul­ture pri­or­i­tizes com­mu­ni­ty over effi­cien­cy.” I can under­stand why they reach that con­clu­sion, but I think they are wrong.

Many rur­al res­i­dents could earn more mon­ey if they moved to a city, but choose to stay;  they pri­or­i­tize com­mu­ni­ty over mon­ey. How­ev­er, urban­ites make sim­i­lar trade-offs; many choose less lucra­tive jobs because we love the work, or work less to have more time to spend with fam­i­ly or an avo­ca­tion. 

In addi­tion, because pub­lic ser­vices have high­er unit costs in rur­al areas, and many rur­al com­mu­ni­ties are los­ing pop­u­la­tion, res­i­dents often lob­by to retain local ser­vices — schools, health­care facil­i­ties, post offices, etc. — despite their cost inef­fi­cien­cy. From res­i­dents’ per­spec­tive, pre­serv­ing these ser­vices val­ues com­mu­ni­ty over effi­cien­cy. How­ev­er, that mis­rep­re­sents the . It con­cerns equi­ty not effi­cien­cy; it is unfair that rur­al res­i­dents receive far more pub­lic invest­ment per capi­ta than urban res­i­dents. 

Hib­bard and Frank claim that, “Plan­ning would bet­ter attend to the chal­lenges fac­ing rur­al areas if it rec­og­nized that in rur­al cul­ture the econ­o­my is not just a way to make a liv­ing, it is a way of life.” This is anoth­er unfair claim. In fact, urban com­mu­ni­ties are full of peo­ple who ded­i­cate their lives to reward­ing but unlu­cra­tive careers, includ­ing artists, non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion lead­ers, and own­ers of small, busi­ness­es.

Sim­i­lar­ly, Hib­bard and Frank claim that, “both resource pro­duc­tion and con­ser­va­tion pri­mar­i­ly ben­e­fit urban peo­ple and that rur­al cul­ture pri­or­i­tizes work­ing land­scapes and mul­ti­func­tion­al approach­es to land use, with mul­ti­ple socioe­co­nom­ic and eco­log­i­cal ben­e­fits and urban–rural link­ages.” This is anoth­er under­stand­able, but I believe inac­cu­rate claim. As Nathan Arnos­ti and Amy Liu point out in Why Rur­al Amer­i­ca Needs Cities, there are actu­al­ly more resources flow­ing from cities to rur­al com­mu­ni­ties than vice ver­sa. Yes, rur­al areas pro­duce agri­cul­tur­al and nat­ur­al resources, but these com­modi­ties are avail­able from many sources, while cities pro­vide ser­vices and oppor­tu­ni­ties, such as edu­ca­tion and health­care, and jobs, on which near­by rur­al com­mu­ni­ties depend. 

Yes, rur­al cul­ture often does pri­or­i­tize work­ing land­scapes over  eco­log­i­cal con­ser­va­tion, because they have a con­flict of inter­est. Many rur­al com­mu­ni­ties depend on extrac­tion indus­tries and so are will­ing to sac­ri­fice their long-term envi­ron­men­tal qual­i­ty for the sake of short-term jobs and tax rev­enues. It is bad enough that rur­al cit­i­zens allow local envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion, but it is trag­ic and unfair that rur­al cit­i­zens often elect lead­ers who resource con­ser­va­tion ini­tia­tives. It is sim­ply untrue that resource pro­duc­tion pri­mar­i­ly ben­e­fit urban­ites: on the con­trary, because city liv­ing is more resource-effi­cient, in par­tic­u­lar an urban lifestyle requires far less ener­gy for trans­porta­tion and hous­ing, we need far less resource pro­duc­tion per capi­ta than rur­al res­i­dents.

Hib­bard and Frank are also wrong to claim that resource con­ser­va­tion pri­mar­i­ly ben­e­fits urban­ites. Rur­al res­i­dents can actu­al­ly ben­e­fit a lot, for exam­ple, if restric­tions on open-pit min­ing and frack­ing, and more mul­ti­modal trans­porta­tion plan­ning, make rur­al com­mu­ni­ties health­i­er and safer. 

Beyond the Myths

One obsta­cle to rur­al plan­ning is the pop­u­lar­i­ty of var­i­ous myths about the supe­ri­or­i­ty of rur­al liv­ing and the infe­ri­or­i­ty of cities. Many are long-estab­lished: Thomas Jef­fer­son praised hard-work­ing yeo­man farm­ers, Hen­ry David Thore­au advo­cat­ed a sim­pler rur­al life, Will Rogers shared rur­al wit and wis­dom, coun­try west­ern music cel­e­brates rur­al lifestyles, and Wen­dell Berry acclaims rur­al com­mu­ni­ties in charm­ing poems. They reflect the premise that rur­al peo­ple are more authen­tic, respon­si­ble, and wis­er than their urban peers.

Like many myths, there may be a ker­nel of truth. Rur­al com­mu­ni­ties do tend to be more sta­ble — res­i­dents are more like­ly to live in the com­mu­ni­ty where they were born — so rur­al areas retain old­er tra­di­tions, cul­tures and val­ues. These may some­times be desir­able attrib­ut­es, but they are not real­ly unique to urban areas, nor are they entire­ly good.

In fact, many tra­di­tions, cul­tures and val­ues thrive in urban areas, includ­ing diverse immi­grant and eth­nic groups, gay and artis­tic com­mu­ni­ties. Is there any rea­son to val­ue rur­al over urban cul­ture? Are the music tra­di­tions of rur­al Appalachia or the Mis­sis­sip­pi Delta than the music tra­di­tions of urban Motown, klezmer, or Hip Hop? I can’t see why. Some of the pref­er­ence for rur­al over urban cul­ture is thin­ly-veiled racism; a pref­er­ence for old, white cul­ture over minor­i­ty, immi­grant, youth cul­ture.

I believe that Hib­bard and Frank are wrong to claim that rur­al res­i­dents place more val­ue on com­mu­ni­ty than urban res­i­dents. Show me evi­dence! Rur­al areas may be very friend­ly and sup­port­ive to mem­bers, but can be unac­com­mo­dat­ing and cru­el to any­body deemed an out­sider. Mov­ing from a rur­al to an urban com­mu­ni­ty can be trau­mat­ic — it takes time to devel­op friend­ships and build a new com­mu­ni­ty — so it is under­stand­able that many rur­al peo­ple con­sid­er cities unfriend­ly, but I can report from per­son­al expe­ri­ence that res­i­dents in my urban neigh­bor­hood place a great val­ue on com­mu­ni­ty: we know and sup­port each oth­er, are high­ly involved in local orga­ni­za­tions, and are wel­com­ing to new­com­ers.

Cer­tain­ly, there are dif­fer­ences between urban and rur­al areas — although far less than often por­trayed. Urban and rur­al res­i­dents both val­ue com­mu­ni­ty, although in some­what dif­fer­ent ways. Rur­al areas tend to be more exclu­sive, plac­ing a high­er val­ue on mul­ti-gen­er­a­tional fam­i­lies, tra­di­tions and con­for­mi­ty. Urban com­mu­ni­ties tend to be more inclu­sive, more accept­ing of diver­si­ty and change. Nei­ther is bet­ter or worse, all should be treat­ed with respect, and there are often excep­tions — many rur­al com­mu­ni­ties have pock­ets of pro­gres­sives, and many urban neigh­bor­hoods have very tra­di­tion­al groups. 

Common Obstacles 

Rur­al com­mu­ni­ties face sev­er­al pos­si­ble obsta­cles to smart prob­lem solv­ing:

  • Denial. Peo­ple refuse to acknowl­edge the prob­lems fac­ing their com­mu­ni­ty.
  • Blam­ing. Res­i­dents con­sid­er them­selves vic­tims and search for an out­sider to blame, rather than tak­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty and search­ing for solu­tions with­in their con­trol.
  • Mag­ic think­ing. Peo­ple that a prob­lem will solve itself, or be solved by a sin­gle sim­ple action.
  • Insu­lar­i­ty. Res­i­dents reject infor­ma­tion or ideas pro­vid­ed by out­siders.
  • Defen­sive­ness. I expect that some read­ers will respond to this col­umn by ask­ing, “Why pick on rur­al com­mu­ni­ties? Urban com­mu­ni­ties have prob­lems too!” That miss­es the point; this is not a con­test, its a prob­lem-solv­ing exer­cise. Yes, urban area have many of the same prob­lems — aging pop­u­la­tions, unaf­ford­abil­i­ty, health risks — plus oth­ers such a traf­fic and park­ing con­ges­tion, but that does not dimin­ish the need for rur­al com­mu­ni­ties to iden­ti­fy prob­lems and appro­pri­ate solu­tions.

 

Smart Planning

Smart plan­ning can help solve rur­al prob­lems, but it requires over­com­ing obsta­cles. Com­mu­ni­ties must iden­ti­fy and reform the root caus­es of iso­la­tion, high trans­porta­tion costs, pover­ty, low edu­ca­tion­al attain­ment, health dis­par­i­ties, and high sui­cide rates, and iden­ti­fy prac­ti­cal solu­tions. Many excel­lent infor­ma­tion resources and sup­port orga­ni­za­tions are list­ed at the end of this blog.

For exam­ple, rur­al com­mu­ni­ties can reduce iso­la­tion, trans­porta­tion unaf­ford­abil­i­ty, high traf­fic death rates and the health prob­lems of seden­tary liv­ing through rur­al mul­ti­modal plan­ning and Smart Growth poli­cies that improve trav­el options and cre­ate com­mu­ni­ties where res­i­dents can dri­ve less and and rely more on walk­ing, bicy­cling and pub­lic tran­sit. In fact, the tra­di­tion­al rur­al vil­lage or small town of 1,000 to 20,000 res­i­dents was orig­i­nal­ly very walk­a­ble and mul­ti­modal; many of these reforms sim­ply reestab­lish old­er plan­ning prac­tices; such as walk­a­ble down­towns, con­nect­ed street net­works, and rur­al bus ser­vices. 

Sim­i­lar­ly, there many local pro­grams for improv­ing reha­bil­i­tat­ing exist­ing hous­ing  for safe­ty and ener­gy effi­cien­cy, and build­ing more afford­able hous­ing; diver­si­fy­ing local economies and sup­port­ing local busi­ness­es; and respond­ing to unmet needs of youths and seniors. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, many rur­al com­mu­ni­ties are not doing this. Rur­al politi­cians often oppose , such as mul­ti­modal plan­ning, and gov­ern­ment pro­grams, such as hous­ing reha­bil­i­ta­tion. They are enablers of dis­func­tion, per­pet­u­at­ing unfair and inef­fi­cient poli­cies. 

There are many ways that plan­ners can help rur­al com­mu­ni­ties achieve their goals. Most rur­al com­mu­ni­ties have local plan­ners on staff, and hire plan­ning con­sul­tants when need­ed to deal with spe­cif­ic issues. Rur­al com­mu­ni­ty plan­ning can be very reward­ing – the respon­si­bil­i­ties are diverse and the work can be sat­is­fy­ing. In my expe­ri­ence, there is often skep­ti­cism of out­side con­sul­tants, but also respect for our exper­tise, par­tic­u­lar­ly from com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers – the may­or, city offi­cials, busi­ness­es and social agency staff – who are eager to solve prob­lems.

Many peo­ple mis­un­der­stand plan­ners’ role. We do not tell com­mu­ni­ties what they should do, rather, we help iden­ti­fy what they can do, and guide a process for select­ing the best options based on local needs and val­ues. If, dur­ing a plan­ning meet­ing some­body chal­lenges you for being an out­sider, don’t take it per­son­al­ly, sim­ply redi­rect atten­tion back to the prob­lem that you are there to address. 

 

For More Information

APTA (2017), Pub­lic Trans­porta­tion’s Impact on Rur­al and Small Towns: A Vital Mobil­i­ty Link, Amer­i­can Pub­lic Trans­porta­tion Asso­ci­a­tion.

Sean Berry (2010), Case Stud­ies on Tran­sit and Liv­able Com­mu­ni­ties in Rur­al and Small Town Amer­i­ca, Trans­porta­tion for Amer­i­ca.

Eric Bru­un (2021), Build­ing and Man­ag­ing Hier­ar­chi­cal Rur­al Trans­porta­tion Net­works, Rur­al Pub­lic and Inter­ci­ty Bus Trans­porta­tion TRB Con­fer­ence. 

Cal­trans (2014), Main Street, Cal­i­for­nia: A Guide for Improv­ing Com­mu­ni­ty and Trans­porta­tion Vital­i­ty, Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion.

CRPD (2016), Rur­al Real­i­ty: City Tran­sit, Rur­al Tran­sit, Min­neso­ta Cen­ter for Rur­al Pol­i­cy and Devel­op­ment.

FHWA (2022), Rur­al Trans­porta­tion Plan­ning, Fed­er­al High­way Admin­is­tra­tion.

Ran­jit Godavarthy, Jere­my Matt­son and Elvis Ndem­be (2014), Cost-Ben­e­fit Analy­sis of Rur­al and Small Urban Tran­sit, Upper Great Plains Trans­porta­tion Insti­tute, North Dako­ta State Uni­ver­si­ty, for the U.S. Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion.

HAC (2014), Hous­ing an Aging Rur­al Amer­i­ca, Hous­ing Assis­tance Coun­cil.

Anush Youse­fi­an Hansen and David Hart­ley (2015), Pro­mot­ing Active Liv­ing in Rur­al Com­mu­ni­ties, Active Liv­ing Research, Robert Woods John­son Foun­da­tion

Ken­neth I. Hosen and S. Ben­nett Pow­ell (2014), Inno­v­a­tive Rur­al Tran­sit Ser­vices: A Syn­the­sis of Tran­sit Prac­tice, TCRP Syn­the­sis 94, Trans­porta­tion Research Board.

ICMA (2010), Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rur­al Com­mu­ni­ties, Inter­na­tion­al City/County Man­age­ment Asso­ci­a­tion (www.icma.org); at.

IPCS (2011), Sup­port­ing Sus­tain­able Rur­al Com­mu­ni­ties, Inter­a­gency Part­ner­ship for Sus­tain­able Com­mu­ni­ties.

ITF (2021), Con­nect­ing Remote Com­mu­ni­ties: Sum­ma­ry and Con­clu­sions, Inter­na­tion­al Trans­port Forum.

ITF (2021), Inno­va­tions for Bet­ter Rur­al Mobil­i­ty, Inter­na­tion­al Trans­port Forum.

Alexan­der Las­ka and Ray­la Bel­lis (2021), Rur­al Com­mu­ni­ties Need Bet­ter Trans­porta­tion Pol­i­cy, Third Way.

Todd Lit­man (2021), Rur­al Mul­ti­modal Plan­ning, Vic­to­ria Trans­port Pol­i­cy Insti­tute.

Jere­my Matt­son (2020), Mea­sur­ing the Eco­nom­ic Ben­e­fits of Rur­al and Small Urban Tran­sit Ser­vices in Greater Min­neso­ta, Upper Great Plains Trans­porta­tion Insti­tute North Dako­ta State Uni­ver­si­ty; at www.dot.state.mn.us/research/reports/2020/202010.pdf.

Lydia Morken and Mil­dred Warn­er (2011), Plan­ning for the Aging Pop­u­la­tion: Rur­al Respons­es to the Chal­lenge, City and Region­al Plan­ning, Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty.

NSMM (2021), Rur­al Trans­porta­tion, Nation­al Cen­ter for Mobil­i­ty Man­age­ment.

Anto­nio Nigro, Luca Bertoli­ni and Francesco Domeni­co Moc­cia (2019), “Land Use and Pub­lic Trans­port Inte­gra­tion in Small Cities and Towns,” Jour­nal of Trans­port Geog­ra­phy, Vo. 74, pp. 110–124 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2018.11.004).

NRTAP (2015), Nation­al Rur­al Tran­sit Assis­tance Pro­gram (http://nationalrtap.org), Fed­er­al Tran­sit Admin­is­tra­tion.

Recon­nect­ing Amer­i­ca (2012), Putting Tran­sit to Work in Main Street Amer­i­ca, Recon­nect­ing Amer­i­ca and Com­mu­ni­ty Trans­porta­tion Asso­ci­a­tion.

Research for Com­mu­ni­ty Access Part­ner­ship (ReCAP) works to increase acces­si­bil­i­ty of the rur­al poor through improve­ments to infra­struc­ture and trans­port.

RTTC (2012), Active Trans­porta­tion Beyond Urban Cen­ters: Walk­ing and Bicy­cling in Small Towns and Rur­al Amer­i­ca, Rails-to-Trails Con­ser­van­cy.
Rur­al Trans­porta­tion Plan­ning Clear­ing­house, is the nation­al pro­fes­sion­al asso­ci­a­tion for rur­al trans­port plan­ning pro­fes­sion­als and stake­hold­ers.

Rur­al Trans­porta­tion Toolk­it pro­vides infor­ma­tion on devel­op­ing, imple­ment­ing and eval­u­at­ing rur­al trans­porta­tion pro­grams. 

Small Urban & Rur­al Tran­sit Cen­ter at North Dako­ta State Uni­ver­si­ty’s Upper Great Plains Trans­porta­tion Insti­tute works to increase mobil­i­ty of small urban and rur­al res­i­dents. 

Smart Rur­al Trans­port Areas Project exam­ined ways to sup­port sus­tain­able shared mobil­i­ty inter­con­nect­ed with pub­lic trans­port in rur­al areas.

SUMP (2021), Sus­tain­able Urban Mobil­i­ty Plan­ning in Small­er Cities and Towns, Sus­tain­able Urban Mobil­i­ty Plans.

TFA (2021), Rur­al Com­mu­ni­ties Need Bet­ter Trans­porta­tion Pol­i­cy, Trans­porta­tion for Amer­i­ca.

TRB (2012), Rur­al Pub­lic Trans­porta­tion Strate­gies for Respond­ing to the Liv­able and Sus­tain­able Com­mu­ni­ties, Digest 375 Nation­al Coop­er­a­tive High­way Research Pro­gram (NCHRP), TRB.

TRB (2017), Best Prac­tices in Rur­al Region­al Mobil­i­ty, Nation­al Coop­er­a­tive High­way Research Pro­gram, Trans­porta­tion Research Board.

TRB (2021), Equi­tably Con­nect­ing Rur­al and Urban Pop­u­la­tions, Trans­porta­tion Research Board.

UGPTI (Annu­al Reports), Rur­al Tran­sit Fact Books, Small Urban and Rur­al Tran­sit Cen­ter (www.surtc.org), Upper Great Plains Trans­porta­tion Insti­tute.

Yvonne Ver­lin­den (2016), Rur­al Com­plete Streets Back­grounder, Toron­to Cen­tre for Active Trans­porta­tion for Com­plete Streets Cana­da.

Natal­ie Vill­wock-Witte and Kar­a­lyn Clouser (2016), Mobil­i­ty Mind­set of Mil­len­ni­als in Small Urban and Rur­al Areas, Small Urban and Rur­al Liv­abil­i­ty Cen­ter,  Mon­tana State Uni­ver­si­ty.

West­ern Trans­porta­tion Insti­tute, is the US’s largest Nation­al Uni­ver­si­ty Trans­porta­tion Cen­ter focused on rur­al trans­porta­tion issues.

WSDOT (annu­al), Rur­al Mobil­i­ty Tran­sit Fund­ing Pro­gram, Wash­ing­ton State Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion.

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