Web Forum

Where the Rubber Meets the Road:
Promoting Active Transportation in Rural Areas
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 | 12:30 PM to 1:45 PM Pacific

There are unique barriers to active modes of transportation in rural communities. Rural environments typically lack pedestrian facilities and bike lanes; stores, schools, jobs, and services are sometimes located far apart from homes; and parks and recreation facilities are rare. In addition, some small town and rural residents see "active transportation" - the ability for people to be physically active in the course of daily life, e.g. walking to school or the supermarket or bicycling to work - as out of place in the rural context.

Understanding these barriers is the first step towards finding opportunities to remove them. In fact, the active living movement is gaining momentum in small towns, rural and tribal communities in every region of the US. This Web Forum will feature a frank roundtable discussion of how, through persistence and inspiration, small towns can implement policies, programs, and environmental changes that support walking and biking. Learn about strategies, tools, and resources that you can use to improve your community so that children and adults can be more physically active and healthier on a daily basis.

Join us for what will surely be a dynamic and thought-provoking forum on how rural communities can support walking and biking. Unlike our traditional events, this Web Forum will feature an entirely unscripted, round table conversation with five leaders in the field of promoting Active Transportation. We look forward to your comments and questions to help shape our open discussion.

Prior to the Web Forum, we invite you to read the report Active Transportation Beyond Urban Centers: Walking and Bicycling in Small Towns and Rural America.






    Mark Duncan
    Starkville in Motion
    Mississippi State University
    Starkville, MS

    Mark DuncanMark has lived in Starkville, Mississippi for the past 6 years and actively involved in making the community a better place from the beginning. Duncan currently serves as President of Starkville in Motion; a local grass-roots effort to improve mobility within Starkville beyond vehicular transportation. Duncan is employed by the Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development at Mississippi State University. (http://starkvilleinmotion.org)

    Eric Oberg
    Trail Development
    Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
    Washington, DC

    Eric Oberg Eric is responsible for the delivery of all levels of trail development technical assistance in 6 Midwest States, including managing technical assistance contracts, products and services. He has many years of experience in trail construction, including surveying, layout & design and both hand and machine based construction methods. He has been extensively involved in planning, design and evaluation of Rail-with-Trail projects. (www.railstotrails.org)

    Jennifer Rice
    Community Strategies
    Humboldt Area Foundation
    Bayside, CA

    Jennifer RiceJen Rice is the Director of Community Strategies for the Humboldt Area Foundation in the rugged region of far northwestern California, sometimes known as Baja Oregon. Previously, Jen spent 15 years working for the nonprofit Redwood Community Action Agency on sustainable community development policy, planning and construction, with focus on active transportation, health impacts of land use and transportation policy and transportation equity. She co-founded the Humboldt Partnership for Active Living, HumPAL. (www.hafoundation.org)

    Ronald Cossman, PhD
    Associate Research Professor
    Research Associate
    Social Science Research Center
    Mississippi State University
    Principal Investigator
    Northeast Mississippi Area Health Education Center
    Starkville, MS

    Ronald Cossman, PhD Ron is a health geographer and demographer. He has also been a member of Starkville in Motion (SIM) since its' inception 8 years ago. He has been associated with writing $1.7 million in health grants on behalf of the City, and continues to advocate for bike lanes, bike paths and a safer built environment for the Safe Routes to Schools program. (www.ssrc.msstate.edu and http://nemsahec.msstate.edu)


    Tracy Hadden Loh
    National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse
    Research Manager
    Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
    Washington, DC

    Tracy Hadden LohTracy is a Ph.D. Candidate in city and regional planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a recipient of a Science to Achieve Results (STAR) fellowship from the Environmental Protection Agency. Tracy was born and raised in Washington, DC, where she still resides, and rides a bicycle to work every day. Tracy is the author of Active Transportation Beyond Urban Centers: Walking and Bicycling in Small Towns and Rural America. (www.railstotrails.org)


The following documents are PDF versions of the speakers’ presentations and are intended to be used for reference only.

Loh/Rails-to-Trails Conservancy


The following documents provide important background information that can enhance the Web Forum experience.


The following websites provide important background information that can enhance the Web Forum experience.

Beyond Urban Centers | Interactive Tool and Report
Humboldt Partnership for Active Living | HumPAL
Health Impace Assessment of the General Plan Update | Humboldt County
Healthy Planning | Public Health Law & Policy
Walkable and Livable Communities Institute
County Health Rankings & Roadmaps
Cycling and Rural Mobility Conference | Velo Village | June 21-23, 2012 | Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada


The organizations listed below have come together to sponsor this important effort:

Public Health Institute Logo The California Endowment http://www.activelivingresearch.org/

Public Health Institute

The California Endowment

Active Living Research