Lack of access to transportation is an important issue in rural environments. Further, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Hawaii are among only a select few locations across the United States where Native Americans have greater representation in rural areas. These populations are also aging and are projected to more than double by the year 2045. How do we maintain safe travel options for these populations in RITI communities where fixed-route (do not have density to support) or flex-route (too expensive) services are not an option? In addition, under reporting and non-reports, community self-governance, no or limited access to licensing programs, and over-representation of crashes involving speeding, alcohol, and unrestrained passengers are of significant concern.
Targeted outreach and educational pedagogy for safety-related material that is culturally sensitive and acceptable is needed. Heritage is a critically important part of RITI communities and many are transitioning back to and embracing the use of native and cultural languages. Transportation plays a critical role in their subsistence lifestyles. Solutions (e.g., transportation signage) and outreach material needs to be tailored to this trend but also based on quantitative assessments of safety barriers due to cultural habits, traditions, and local policies. This should be done in such a way that responds to the particular sensitivities involved and establish a level of communication that leads to a clear understanding of procedural and product needs.