Transportation barriers prevent an estimated 3.6 million people in the United States from obtaining needed medical care each year. Transportation barriers include not having access to a vehicle, inadequate infrastructure, lengthy commutes, expensive transportation costs and adverse policies that affect travel.
Without access to transportation, individuals must miss or delay their health care appointments, resulting in poorer health outcomes and increased health expenditures.
Mary Wolfe, a UNC doctoral candidate, and Noreen McDonald, professor and chairperson of the Department of City and Regional Planning at UNC, conducted a nationwide scan to investigate how innovations in ride-hailing technology are changing health care transportation in the U.S.
“This was an opportunity to evaluate a different, but very important connection between transportation and health,” Wolfe said.
Recently, ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft, which allow users to book rides and pay for car service through a smartphone app, have started filling the gaps in non-emergency health care transportation.