Rural Equitable and Accessible Transportation (REAT) Center

The REAT Center is a consortium formed by six institutions to address multimodal transportation challenges through research to improve the quality of life in rural America. The proposed research activities to be conducted by the Center are consistent with the US DOT statutory research priority Area A: Improving Mobility of People and Goods, with a focus on rural transportation. Within the priority area, the Center addresses the challenges of Transportation Equity, Multimodal System Planning, and Rural Transportation Infrastructure. The Center’s strategic thinking and planning of rural transportation in the United States is of paramount importance, given that 19 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural communities, which is increasingly marked by growing diversity and expanding inequity within and across regions[1]. It is also worth noting that 97 percent of the land mass in the US is categorized as rural and has 68 percent of the Nation’s total lane-miles[2]. Thus, the desired transformation of the transportation industry requires overcoming geographical challenges in access, connectivity, and modernization of rural transportation systems. While the transportation system goes through a transformation with new technologies (e.g., connected and autonomous vehicles), a concerted and focused approach is needed to investigate the efficacy of those solutions with respect to the transportation needs of diverse rural populations comprising the elderly, people of color, and economically disadvantaged persons.



[1] Rowlands, D.W. and H. Love. “Mapping Rural America’s Diversity and Demographic Change”, The Avenue.  As viewed, August 7th, 2022.

[2] U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, “Annual Vehicle Distance Traveled in Miles and Related Data, 2017-2018”; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 2018.