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Title:Rural mobility in Appalachia: contemporary public transportation planning and the complicated legacy of regional highway networks
Author(s):Hutchinson, Emily Allen
Advisor(s):Lee, Bumsoo
Contributor(s):Braun, Lindsay M
Department / Program:Urban & Regional Planning
Discipline:Urban Planning
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:Rural transportation systems provide vital options to residents of remote, sparsely populated, and shrinking areas. Though not a classic setting for studying public transit, Appalachia is an exciting case for many reasons. For fulfilling everyday travel needs in most of the United States, personal vehicles have remained the status quo for decades. Not surprisingly, transportation infrastructure mirrors that status quo. But in Appalachia, efforts to establish any formalized transportation infrastructure at all have been arduous and are ongoing. And while other regions in the United States are now reaping the benefits of innovation in the public transportation planning space, Appalachia is still confronting the construction of its first complete highway network. Meanwhile, significant transit-dependent populations linger outside the spotlight cast by motor vehicle-oriented infrastructure. This thesis examines the current characteristics of rural public transportation planning in Appalachia and the role that the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) has played in shaping those characteristics. My findings provide new insights about the region-specific challenges that transportation practitioners in Appalachia face, community- and agency-based solutions to those challenges, and the influence of auto-oriented investments on the region's capacity to plan for mobility. I draw primarily on historical and current evidence form the literature, as well as qualitative data collected from a series of interviews with transportation practitioners in Appalachia. I conclude that the ADHS is among the many factors that have negatively impacted the region's capacity to adequately maintain and enhance public transportation service, and that demand for increased service justifies a fresh evaluation of the paradigms that have historically guided rural planning.
Issue Date:2021-07-23
Rights Information:© 2021 Emily Allen Hutchinson
Date Available in IDEALS:2022-01-12
Date Deposited:2021-08

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