Bringing the Vital Conditions to Life: Reliable Transporation

Part of our Vital Conditions series that’s designed to help you bridge the connection from understanding each Vital Condition to identifying ways to improve it in your community and where to start. 

Inspired by our organization’s name -- IP3 -- we’ve structured this series to showcase People successfully improving Conditions at the local level, Places who have built up momentum worth modeling, and inspiring Possibilities to drive your work.

What is Reliable Transportation?

Whether it’s wheelchair use, walking, bicycling, school bus, public transit, or private car, everyone uses some form of transportation to get safely where they need to go. Transportation is considered reliable when users can count on it to plan their day and any future activities. Learn more

Why is this considered a vital condition for health?

Reliable transportation options play a big part in where people live, and in turn, what schools they attend, their job opportunities, and how often they see family and friends. With motorized vehicle crashes being one of the leading causes of death in the United States, transportation safety is an important public health issue. Learn more

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Visualizing Well-Being: Reliable Transportation
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Addressing Transportation to Improve Community Health
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Inspirational People

When talk turns to improving community health in Greenville, South Carolina, one name pops up across many sectors: Inez Morris. 

From housing, to education, to transportation, Inez has been a vocal supporter of programs to improve her community. Serving as the Vice President of the Greenville Transit Authority, as well as on local Boards such as Greenville Dreams, New Horizon Family Health Services, and AID Upstate, Morris inspires others to see a positive future for Greenville.

A lifelong educator herself, Morris has a bachelor's degree from Carver Bible College in Atlanta, Georgia; a Master of Arts degree from Luther Rice Seminary in Lithonia, Georgia and a Master of Education degree from Liberty University.

Inspirational words from Inez Morris:

“Good mass transit is critical to the growth of our area, to our city, and to helping support economic prosperity for all residents,” -- as vice chair of board of Greenville Transit Authority 

On Greenville Dreams, a United Way program that trains neighborhood leaders in grassroot organizing, “We are very proud to see people stepping up to make a difference in Greenville County,” said Inez Morris, chair of Greenville Dreams. “The commitment these 16 community leaders have shown to their community is inspiring and we are excited about the change they will create.”

On Homes of Hope: a program in Greenville that helps those who can't afford downtown rent from being pushed farther away from jobs and public transportation. "I'm one of those, that if I didn't live in one of the affordable homes through “Homes of Hope,” I would not be able to afford to live in the city of Greenville,” community leader Inez Morris said. “I would have to live somewhere else." (stated in Program helps renters who can't afford downtown Greenville prices from being pushed out)

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Strong Leaders Matter by Lisa Jackson
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Community Tool Box: Building Leadership
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Inspirational Place

Imagine waking at 5 a.m. so you can get to your job by 8 - a job that is only four miles away. When the public transit system in your town only runs once an hour, that early wake call is required to have time to get yourself and your toddler dressed and fed, then walk the half mile to meet the 6 a.m. bus. You arrive at the daycare center at 6:20, but the next bus doesn’t roll by until 7.  You make it to work at 7:10, but your shift doesn’t start for another 50 minutes. At the end of your eight hour work day, you repeat the whole process again just to get home. 

Or, maybe you work a 12-hour shift,  and the bus will get you there on time, but with no evening transit service, you have to rely on family, friends, or costly private car services to return home.

This is a  daily reality for many residents of Greenville, South Carolina but the community is working to change it, and help is coming from a typically uninvolved sector: local businesses.

After a 2015 study conducted by Greenville’s Piedmont Health Foundation showed that lack of good public transit was hurting not only the residents, but economic growth opportunities, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce got on board with making significant improvements. 

Now, Greenville’s 2018 long term transportation plan has visions to increase the frequency of bus service, extend the hours and days of service, and add more routes to reach residents living in affordable housing areas.

In July 2019, the city increased transit funding  from $500,000 to $2.5 million by dipping into reserves. The bulk of that funding went toward expanding the hours of service. Those new hours took effect in October 2019.

How They Did It

  • Established the case for involvement from the business community by conducting a 2015 Mobility Study of 3,500 residents with 72% saying the current system did not meet their needs to reach local jobs.

  • Completed a Greenlink Funding Study that showed Greenville was far behind peer cities in public transit funding, with just one out of every ten dollars coming from local sources. That study was used to incrementally increase local funding, which helped the city receive an $11 million federal grant.

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Transportation and Health Tool
Transportation and Health Tool
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AllTransit Metrics
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Possibilities to Inspire You

The Well Being Trust has chosen to highlight these solutions as ones that are not only possible, but have a real chance to improve lives. 

There are many opportunities to improve conditions for Reliable Transportation  in communities. Some of the most significant opportunities pertain to:

  • Recognize that more people want walkable, transit-rich communities; 

  • Build Complete Streets for connected, safe, accessible communities; and

  • Invest in transportation systems that serve all ages and modes.

We offer the following collection of community success stories, resources, and tools to help you explore current conditions, look for possibilities, build community, and take action.

 Related Topics

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Transit System

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Complete Streets

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Active Transportation

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Reliable Transportation