Linking Transportation Access and Public Health

Millions of Americans miss medical care and other important day-to-day appointments due to a lack of access to reliable transportation.

1 minute read

January 17, 2024, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Close-up of blurred empty vinyl chairs with person sitting in background and wheelchair visible in hospital waiting room.

chalongrat / Allen Park

Almost 6 percent of Americans were unable to reach medical appointments or other important activities due to a lack of reliable transportation in the last 12 months, reveals new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

Steven Ross Johnson outlines the results in U.S. News & World Report, noting that “Overall, the data indicates between 13 million and 14 million adults in the U.S. had recently faced the issue in 2022, according to a CDC spokesperson.” Among people living below the federal poverty line, the rate increased to 16 percent.

Lack of access to transportation can impact people’s health over the short and long term. James Hardy of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, told U.S. News & World Report, “At its core, lack of reliable transportation creates a barrier for folks to get to the basic needs and services that families require in order to be healthy.”

For Hardy, this stems in part from the car-centric development that dominates most U.S. communities, limiting mobility for people who don’t own cars or can’t drive. Hardy notes that “narrowing health disparities tied to a lack of transportation will only come with more substantive changes to how government officials plan and invest in transportation.”

Thursday, January 11, 2024 in U.S. News & World Report

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