While America's rural population declined by more than half a million people, small town and rural public transit ridership has increased nearly eight percent (7.8 percent) from 2007 to 2015, according to a new study by the American Public Transportation Association.
The paper, which is available on the APTA website (and linked here), notes that rural and small town residents with disabilities particularly rely upon public transportation. These residents take nearly 50 percent more public transit trips than unimpaired people. There are 2.9 million veterans residing in rural and small towns, which make up 33 percent of the veteran population enrolled in the VA health care system. Public transit can help this population access needed services, particularly wounded veterans with limited mobility, according to the report (adapted from Mass Transit Mag article: link here).
A summary of the paper is listed below. Read the full paper here.