This study, commissioned by the Appalachian Regional Commission, analyzes how transportation options, and lack thereof, can impact economic development and access to services across the Region. The report understands transportation accessibility as the ability of people and businesses to access desired and needed activities, services, and goods within existing transportation options. This includes business access to supply chains, labor, and markets, and consumer access to food, health care, and education. The report also considers how suspended rail service, aging roadways, and the absence of public transportation options unique restrict economic growth in Appalachia’s rural areas where communities are separated by long distances. Examples and guidance for practitioners about how to develop community-specific analysis of transportation access can help analysts better understanding the relationship transportation accessibility has on economic growth.
To help advance the goal of more fully integrating access into transportation decision-making, this full research report is accompanied by a more concise companion primer offering guidance on incorporating access concepts into decision-making. The primer is designed to offer an entry point for analysts and decision-makers interested in learning about access issues and measurement, without providing the full methodological detail, theoretical background, and test applications that are included in the full research report.