When it comes to transportation services for the elderly and needy in rural areas, the entire country will be looking to emulate the successful model operating right here in Rappahannock County.
“Looks like we’re going nationwide,” reacts Jenny Biche of the Rappahannock Rapidan Regional Commission (RRRC).
Biche has just been notified by the federal transportation planning consultant KFH Group that the RRRC’s “successful mobility management practices” have been selected to be part of a “national toolkit” for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program’s Improving Transportation Services in Small Urban and Rural Areas.
Lucinda Shannon, transportation planner for KFH Group, says she will now be writing a program profile about RRRC’s Foothills Area Mobility System (FAMS) that provides transportation for those in need throughout Rappahannock and adjacent counties.
Transportation has long been identified as one of the greatest unmet needs in and around Rappahannock for older adults and individuals with disabilities, but it’s not just a local problem. Nationally, between 25 percent and 30 percent of individuals do not have access to an automobile. In addition to the elderly and disabled, this number includes low-income families or individuals who cannot afford their own vehicles or aren’t able to drive for other reasons.
Lack of transportation is often cited by human services organizations and employment programs as a barrier to self sufficiency for low-income families.
KFH Group is a Washington, D.C.-based firm of transportation professionals that assist local, state, and federal organizations in improving public transportation services. It focuses on transportation planning, management consulting, policy analysis, service evaluation and design, and operational support for transportation programs in communities of all sizes — smaller towns and rural areas such as Rappahannock, suburban and urbanizing regions, and larger metropolitan environments.