Accessible Transportation as a Pathway to Better Outcomes
August 24, 2021 | Article
Yogin Shroff, Senior Partner and Chief Operating Officer
Can social risks be mitigated through effective, accessible, and affordable means of transportation?
Transportation is often overlooked as a social need. Without proper access to transportation – for medical appointments, trips to the grocery store, socialization, employment, and the like – other social risks tend to multiply. Moreover, interventions in this context are less likely to yield desired results.
Transportation is critical to any analysis of social health.
TRANSPORTATION GREASES THE WHEELS OF SOCIAL HEALTH
Transportation is foundational to employment, especially among low-income adults. A recent study from the Pew Research Center found that 76% of low-income adults say that the responsibilities of their job cannot be complete from home.1
Moreover, transportation impacts education opportunities. The Urban Institute completed a study concluding that, “Student transportation can have a substantial effect on the quality of a student’s education and the composition of her peer group. Transportation options,” the findings continue, “…can enable students to attend higher-quality schools that might have been previously inaccessible, and they can allow for participation in enriching before- and after-school activities.”2
TRANSPORTATION BARRIERS AND OUTCOMES
The American Hospital Association categorizes transportation barriers as follows: Transportation Infrastructure, Transportation Costs, Vehicle Access, Distance and Time Burden, and Policy.3
TRANSPORTATION TO IMPROVE HEALTH OUTCOMES
How can healthcare innovators improve transportation access and availability for those most affected?
In the drive to improve outcomes and promote social mobility, ensuring affordable and accessible transportation is synonymous with improving population health.
1 Parker K, Horowitz J, Minkin, R (9, December 2020) How the Coronavirus Outbreak Has – and Hasn’t – Changed the Way Americans Work. Retrieved from
2 Urban Institute Student Transportation Working Group (2017, February) Student Transportation and Education Access. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/88481/student_transportation_educational_access_0.pdf
3Health Research & Educational Trust. (2017, November). Social determinants of health series: Transportation and the role of hospitals. Chicago, IL: Health Research & Educational Trust. Accessed at www.aha.org/transportation