Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Gonzales, L., Stombaugh, D., Seekins, T., & Kasnitz, D. (2006). Accessible rural transportation: An evaluation of the traveler’s cheque voucher program. Community Development, 37 (3), 106-115.
Title:  Accessible rural transportation: An evaluation of the traveler’s cheque voucher program
Authors:  Gonzales, L., Stombaugh, D., Seekins, T., & Kasnitz, D.
Year:  2006
Journal/Publication:  Community Development
Publisher:  ProQuest
Full text:    |   PDF   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes

Structured abstract:

Background:  The lack of transportation is one of the most significant and frequently reported challenges for individuals with disabilities living in rural communities. Some estimates report that as many as 40% of those living in rural communities have no access to public transportation in any form.
Purpose:  This study examined the effectiveness of a voucher model of rural transportation for individuals with disabilities.
Study sample:  Ten community programs (e.g., centers for independent living, American Indian VR programs) across ten states participated in the voucher program to provide transportation to 588 adults with disabilities.
Data collection and analysis:  There were three primary means for evaluating the program’s impact. The study utilized a Three-day Trip Diary, Satisfaction Form, and parts of the Enrollment form with periodic updates to collect pre- and post-test data. Data on each of the participant’s households was collected and used for qualitative analysis. Spreadsheets were maintained on each participant including all pertinent information for each trip (e.g., voucher number, date, ride provider, mileage, purpose of trip). Conference calls, face-to-face meetings, and training sessions were conducted with community transportation coordinators (CTC), which provided rich qualitative data. Finally, on visits to the participating sites, interviews were conducted with participants, directors, and public officials.
Findings:  Upon enrollment, 31% of participants were employed part-time and 14% employed full-time. During the first four years of the study, 171 individuals obtained employment (93 full-time and 78 part-time). Moreover, a number of those employed during enrollment reported that Traveler’s Cheque (TC) program helped them to maintain their current employment or improved their employment situation. The TC program appears to be highly effective in assisting individuals with disabilities in rural areas to secure necessary transportation.
Conclusions:  In rural areas with limited transportation options, the TC model can directly increase opportunities for individuals with disabilities to obtain employment and participate in community life. The TC voucher model is flexible and adoptable to most local or private agencies to supplement existing transportation systems. TC offer advantages over existing transportation options due to on-demand availability, lower overhead and administrative costs, may increase public/private cooperation, minimal initial investment, and easy monitoring.

Disabilities served:  Multiple disabilities
Populations served:  Other
Outcomes:  Employment acquisition