CR2C2 Research Overview

Rural areas play a significant, yet often underappreciated, role in the United States’ economic activity. The smaller tax base of rural areas, in comparison to urban areas, is often insufficient to adequately fund and maintain public transportation systems and infrastructure. Rural residents have fewer mobility options and depend largely on personal vehicles to access education, employment, healthcare, and other resources. As urban areas upgrade their Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to accommodate emerging technologies, such as connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), rural communities lack the funding and resources to maintain, operate, and manage existing transportation systems, much less implement new technologies.

Technological Solutions for Rural Transportation Problems: Leveling the socioeconomic playing field requires adapting and scaling advanced technologies, such as CAV-based mobility options, to better serve expansive rural areas. This will help rural communities rebuild capacity, strengthen their economy, and provide equitable access to high-quality transportation networks many in urban areas take for granted. Nevertheless, technological solutions must be carefully assessed and evaluated prior to implementation to ensure they meet real rural community needs.  Given these challanges, we, CR2C2 researchers, will address the following research questions:

How to plan for connected, integrated, accessible, and interoperative multimodal technologies in alignment with rural community needs to facilitate equitable access to resources and opportunities?

How to take a system of systems approach to design efficient technologies for accelerated solutions to address needs of rural communities?

How to deliver these technologies as community-centered solutions and services?

The Research Roadmap of the Center provides the overall description of the MRIs, topics addressed under each MRI, and future research needs under each MRI.