Commissioned by the Huron Perth Transportation Task Force (a community conversation led by United Way Perth-Huron), the survey released on November 15th received over 600 responses from the two counties. Responses indicated that lack of transportation in the area often prevents residents from accessing essential services such as healthcare, and has led to job loss for nearly 15% of survey respondents. Improved transportation is also critical for both local and regional travel as residents make frequent trips to the Greater Toronto Area, London, and Kitchener-Waterloo for personal and professional purposes. Interestingly, survey respondents also expressed considerable interest when asked about ridesharing (known informally as carpooling) and car sharing programs as alternatives to public transportation. Many respondents alluded to the various benefits of such programs; they are environmentally friendly as they reduce the number of single-occupant vehicles on the road, they are inexpensive to use and reduce the costs associated with vehicle ownership, and they provide a means of transportation for those without a vehicle.
Designed to better understand transportation needs of Perth and Huron communities, the survey was distributed in libraries, municipal offices, food banks, and Centres for Learning and Employment across both counties. Residents were also able to complete the survey online.
Survey questions sought to gain information on demographics, employment information, and transportation needs. Results from the survey will be used to inform recommendations for improved service provision/collaboration, and creating new service adoption throughout Perth and Huron.
Ryan Erb, Executive Director at United Way Perth Huron believes “This is such an important topic. In our rural area, distance to services, recreation, employment and social outings can be very challenging. We need to better understand what the needs are so improvements can be made. We had a great response to the survey and now have more evidence upon which we can base our recommendations.”
The Transportation Task Force has been operating since 2012 and is made up of a number of community partners including human service providers, municipalities, transportation providers, and transportation users. They are:
Through an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant, the task force has hired a Transportation Coordinator to conduct research regarding existing local transportation services, external examples that may provide ideas for local improvement, and other local data as it builds on the Social Research and Planning Council report, “The Road Ahead: A study of transportation needs across Huron and Perth Counties”. It is expected that the research collected through this initiative will improve transportation for both Perth and Huron counties and provide easier access to employment, education, medical needs, recreation, and social events.
For more information regarding the Transportation Task Force, survey results, and more, please visit www.perthhuron.unitedway.ca.
For more information or to set up an interview, with Ryan Erb, Executive Director, contact 1-877-818-8867 or 519-271-7730 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org