Access to Healthcare and Transportation

Across the United States, people use transportation to move goods and themselves from one location to another. It can also be a source of recreation and enjoyment. The word “transportation” is also used to describe the ability of individuals and communities to access healthcare services, whether by personal vehicle or public mode.

In fact, research shows that lack of transportation is a significant barrier to health-related destinations such as grocery stores where healthy food can be purchased or doctor’s offices for preventive care and treatment of chronic diseases. The need to address this barrier became even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, when it was estimated that millions of trips to health appointments were missed by people unable to find or afford a ride to see their doctors.

A variety of factors can contribute to the need for transportation access to healthcare, including geographic and economic challenges, individual abilities and preferences, and underlying health needs. However, the most common factor is that many people report not having a vehicle to travel to healthcare services. This is often a result of low incomes and limited resources that make purchasing and maintaining a private vehicle impractical for some patients, especially those with high health-related costs such as prescription medication, copays and insurance premiums.

Fortunately, healthcare providers and community organizations are working hard to address this issue. Some examples of these efforts include ADA paratransit, subsidized transportation for medical and other urgent reasons, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, and programs that provide access to automobiles. access to healthcare and transportation