Native American Transit: Current Practices, Needs, and Barriers

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - mass transit, place - north america, planning - history


Tribal government, Transit, State of the practice, Public transit, Needs assessment, Native Americans, Mobility, Mass transit, Local transit, Laws and legislation, Indians of North America, Indian reservations, History, Funding, Financing, Case studies, Barriers (Obstacles), Barriers (Challenges), American Indians


For years, a lack of transportation options has held Native Americans captive. Without access to services and employment, this subset of the population has a history of high unemployment, poor health, and a lack of education. Public transit is viewed as a way to address this mobility challenge; however, many barriers to the provision of tribal transit exist. This paper examines the current state of transit on reservations through historical and environmental contexts, discusses the necessity of transit for Native Americans, examines case studies, and describes funding and legislative frameworks with the goal of presenting ideas on how Native Americans might overcome the barriers to transit provision.