Mobility Justice in Rural California: Examining Transportation Barriers and Adaptations in Carless Households

A transition to a more sustainable transportation system that supports multi-modal and clean transportation options in rural and urban fringe areas is fraught with difficulty. Public transit is rare or non-existent and distances to essential destinations are large, making car use practically a necessity. Nearly all rural households have cars, and rural residents make fewer trips but for longer distances by car compared to residents of other neighborhood types, reflecting lower access to destinations. However, people in zero-car rural households make fewer trips over shorter distances than people in rural households with at least one car, but make more and longer trips than urban zero-car households. These differences may reveal a higher degree of disadvantage for households without ready vehicle access, corroborated by research in Australia showing that rural residents were more likely to report not being able to do activities because of transportation challenges—even for households with cars. Moreover, rural areas may be left behind by a clean vehicle transition: residents of disadvantaged communities are much less likely to purchase electric vehicles, for example. The goal of this research is to identify how rural zero-car households in California meet their transportation needs, and what policy solutions might improve access and mobility for these households. While there has been previous research on barriers to transportation access in rural communities in the United States, much of this work focuses specifically on access to healthcare or on the broad conditions and policy approaches related to travel challenges outside urban areas. This study will begin with a quantitative characterization of the rural zero-car population in California, followed by a qualitative evaluation of the travel burdens faced by households without cars, with a particular focus in the rural San Joaquin Valley of California.

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $92246
  • Contract Numbers:

    Caltrans 65A0686 Task Order 064

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    National Center for Sustainable Transportation

    University of California, Davis
    Davis, CA  United States 

    California Department of Transportation

    1227 O Street
    Sacramento, CA  United States  95843
  • Managing Organizations:

    National Center for Sustainable Transportation

    University of California, Davis
    Davis, CA  United States 

    University of California, Davis

    1 Shields Ave
    Davis, California  United States  95616
  • Project Managers:

    Iacobucci, Lauren

  • Performing Organizations:

    National Center for Sustainable Transportation

    University of California, Davis
    Davis, CA  United States 

    University of California, Davis

    1 Shields Ave
    Davis, California  United States  95616
  • Principal Investigators:

    Barajas, Jesus

  • Start Date: 20211001
  • Expected Completion Date: 20221130
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01784080
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Center for Sustainable Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: Caltrans 65A0686 Task Order 064
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Oct 1 2021 4:16PM