Document Type


Date of Award



College of Science, Engineering, and Technology (COSET)

Degree Name

MS in Transportation Planning & Management

Committee Chairperson

Carol A Lewis

Committee Co-Chairperson

Carol A Lewis

Committee Member 1

Gwendolyn C Goodwin

Committee Member 2

Fengxiang G Qiao

Committee Member 3

Graham Thomas


• Public Transport • Public Transport Planning • Rural Communities • Texas Triangle


This thesis seeks to answer the research question; can one measure of social equity be a measure comparing socio-demographic variables of vulnerable communities with their county peers? If so, what benefits can public transportation bring to the rural communities? To answer the aforementioned research question, a study is conducted on the rural areas of the Texas Triangle along Interstate Highway 10 (IH 10) from Houston to San Antonio. Block groups located within five miles from the centerline of IH 10 are pulled and their poverty rate data are analyzed. A poverty index is calculated based on vulnerability variables which are female head of household, non-English speaking family, senior citizens, and zero automobile ownership. If a block group has higher poverty rate than that of the Texas poverty rate of 15.9 percent, that block group is considered a vulnerable block group. The study found that the socio-demographic index can be used to express the purpose and need of public transportation. And the research concluded that a better public transportation system in the vulnerable block groups will enable the communities to address the challenges of their essential needs such as access to grocery stores, medical facilities, educational institutions, and employment opportunities.