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The Rural Transit Reality

Rural bus stop

The collected articles and stories in this edition of Community Transportation highlight not only the factors driving fundamental changes in rural public transportation, but also what the new rural transit reality looks like. And there are more such examples, in every state and perhaps the community you call home. Perhaps the best that can be said of rural transit is that it is always changing, revitalizing itself as it seeks to meet the demands of the rural marketplace.


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From the Editors

Rich Sampson and Scott Bogren

DigitalCT staff Scott Bogren & Rich Sampson highlight the articles and stories that comprise this edition of DigitalCT, with on how trends in rural America interact with the realities faced by rural transit providers.

Voices from the Community

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Listen to the CT Podcast Interviews with CTAA's Charles Rutkowski, Technical Assistance Programs Director and Jeff Meilbeck, General Manager of the Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority (NAIPTA) in Flagstaff, Ariz.

The Commentary

Wide open plains

These are challenging times for all forms of community and public transportation. Rural communities and rural transit stand squarely on the front lines of major population, demographic, health care and employment change. The rural and small town America that transit operators rolls their buses out into today is, in so many ways, vastly different than the one of just 30 years ago. Challenges -- which is a friendlier way of saying problems -- abound.

Isabella County Transportation Commission: Setting Trends for Four Decades

excited riders outside a bus

As Michigan's oldest and largest rural transportation provider, ICTC operates a blend of both demand-response service throughout Isabella County, as well as routed service in and around the county's largest population center of Mount Pleasant. By embracing new and innovative ways of serving the county, ICTC has not only attracted growing numbers of riders, but has also ingrained itself as an essential component of the region's identity.

New Mexico's North Central Regional Transit District: Embracing the Regional Rural Reality

Cover of RTD brochure featuring RTD vehicles with mountains in the back

The decade-long path from the NCRTD's creation in 2004 to its intensive role in connecting communities today is one marked by a series of forward-thinking strategies and practices that led it to be quickly embraced by both the region's leaders and its citizens.

Trends Analysis: How Changing Rural Demographics Impacts Rural Transit

Bus stop with a graphics curve superimposed on it

Rural America is today a very different place from the one that existed at the outset of the federal rural transportation formula investment program. Population trends, demographics and settlement patterns have forged a new rural America, creating striking new challenges for mobility operators.

CTAA's Reauthorization & Policy Recommendations for Rural Transit

CTAA President Barb Cline in a congressional committee room

This edition of DigitialCT compiles CTAA's full recommendations for MAP-21 reauthorization and surface transportation policy, recent testimony by CTAA Board of Directors President Barbara K. Cline, CCTM before the U.S. Senate's Banking Committee and an infographic on the current crisis in bus capital funding.

Resources for Rural Transit

Logo for Professional Development Services

CTAA offers some helpful resources for rural transit providers, including insurance tailored to the needs of rural transportation systems and training programs for safety in rural transit, as well as a new way to integrate innovative concepts such as ridersharing, vanpooling, telework and more through our recently-launched RideShareNation initiative.

Transit Notes

Butler Transit Authority bus at a stop

Updates, news items and the latest stories on community and public transportation around the nation.


Richard Sampson
Communications Specialist
Community Transportation and RAIL Magazines
800.891.0590 x729