Designing a Rurality-Travel Clock for the Program Accessibility of SNAP-eligible Population

Authors: Lan Mu*, University of Georgia, Yu Chen, University of Georgia, Chen Zhen, University of Georgia
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: SNAP, Accessibility, Rurality, Poverty, Health
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Marshall West, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

To graphically describe the relationship between access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) offices, rurality and eligible population, we designed a Rurality-Travel Clock (RTC) to visualize the variations and patterns of rurality, travel to SNAP office and poverty. The RTC looks like an analog clock, with travel time marked from 0 to 60 minutes. Rurality is represented as a vector from the RTC center to the rim, showing rural population from 0% to 100%. Four colored zones are used to highlight zones of completely urban, mostly urban, mostly rural and completely rural. Each block group is a point on the RTC, and its location indicates the travel time to the most convenient SNAP office and rurality. Using the RTC, we can visualize and understand different scenarios of traveling to SNAP office. Overall, most block groups are within a 30-minute drive to a SNAP office, and the rurality increases the travel time. We also plotted a few extreme scenarios such as the most affluent, the maximally underprivileged block groups with 100% poverty population and more. We further demonstrate rurality, travel time and RTC for each state in the conterminous U.S. It is interesting to observe that RTC can reveal characteristics of urbanity-rurality and access to social service (in this case, it is SNAP office) in that state. The RTC can serve as a graphic signature for the urban-rural settings as well as overall accessibility to SNAP offices.

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