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Project Details

Title:Tribal Transit Study: Demographic Needs Indicators, Funding Needs, and Livability


Public transportation provides critical lifeline services to transit dependent people connecting them to healthcare services, educational institutions, employment, and other important activities. While there are many factors that influence livability of a rural community, transit is believed to be an important contributor. Previous research by SURTC studied the nexus of transit and livability in rural communities. This study expands upon previous research by specifically examining transit and livability in tribal communities, as well as updating previous research on demographic needs indicators and funding needs for tribal transit.


  • Determine tribal transit demographic need indicators to understand transportation and mobility needs of tribal communities.
  • Conduct an analysis of transit operations and funding data for tribal communities in the U.S.; learn about the state of public transit services, identify gaps in services, and funding needs.
  • Conduct case studies in three tribal communities to understand the nexus of transportation and transit towards the livability and quality of life in tribal communities.

A comprehensive literature review will be conducted in the areas of tribal livability, tribal mobility and public transportation needs, and tribal quality of life. Transit-related demographic information concerning the 573 federally recognized Indian tribes will be developed. The study will document the availability of transit services among the list of federally recognized tribes and analyze the public transportation services operations and funding. Tribal transit funding needs and gaps in service will be identified. The study will employ a framework developed in previous SURTC research to conduct case studies with tribal communities. Case studies will examine livability factors, quality of life, transportation, and transit's contribution towards community livability.

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050