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P26 Identifying Transportation Access Strategies to Advance SNAP-Ed Programming

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      Background

      Insufficiencies in transportation access are associated with a multitude of disparities among low-income families. SNAP-Ed implementers are encouraged to work with sectors of influence to expand and strengthen transportation to and from programming sites. Currently, evidenced-based, program participant-informed transportation access strategies are limited.

      Objective

      This exploratory study aimed to understand perspectives from transportation stakeholders and people who are SNAP-Ed eligible on strategies needed to ensure access to transportation for people on a low income.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      In South Carolina, in-depth interviews (n = 22) were conducted with transportation stakeholders (n = 27), and focus groups (n = 10) were conducted with people (n = 61) recruited from SNAP-Ed programming sites (health clinics, public libraries). Interviews and focus groups were audio-recorded and transcribed.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      Transcripts were qualitatively analyzed separately for interviews and focus groups to identify emergent themes.

      Results

      Themes among stakeholders included: increasing funding for public transit; creating or strengthening public transit options; changing public and policy maker perceptions of public transit; and increasing collaboration and coordination among stakeholders. Themes among focus group participants included having options outside of individual vehicle ownership (eg, buses, taxis, vans, ride-sharing services) available and affordable where people on a low income live, especially in rural areas, and improving existing public transit options (eg, more routes, more promotion of how public transit systems work).

      Conclusions

      SNAP-Ed implementers should: engage with SNAP-Ed participants to inform them of transportation options in their area and identify their transportation gaps and build relationships with multi-sector transportation stakeholders to share the experiences of SNAP-Ed participants and work towards changing policy, systems, and environments to improve transportation systems. Outcome evaluations are needed to determine if strategies implemented improve food security and dietary intake among participants.

      Funding

      Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education.