Creative technology solutions could bolster transit options in rural communities

Establishing transit systems in rural communities is inherently challenging because of geographically spread-out populations. At the same time, rural communities often have an increased need for transit relative to their urban counterparts. Rural residents are frequently isolated from food, health care, and employment opportunities; for anyone who cannot own or drive a private vehicle (for reasons of age, disability, or income), this can be a significant problem…

Tom Fisher, director of the Minnesota Design Center at the U of M, noted during his presentation that informal transportation systems—such as ride sharing organized over social media—have a lot of untapped potential in rural communities.

In Wabasha, Minnesota, Fisher and his fellow researchers found a number of Facebook groups that local rural residents use to organize car sharing. One, for example, coordinates carpools to Rochester for Mayo Clinic employees. Another organizes volunteer drivers who transport stray cats and dogs to vet clinics for spaying/neutering.

Receive Our Newsletter

Get the latest Safety21 news sent to your inbox.