Rural Needs. Statewide Answers banner image

Rural Needs, Statewide Answers: Demographics, Health Care Access, and Community Engagement

Monday, May 13, 2024, 9:00–11:30 am

AI Johnson Room
200 Oak Street SE, Suite 100
Minneapolis, MN 55445


About the Event

Please join CTS and our five councils for this annual all councils meeting, which will explore topics related to CTS's 2024 theme of Rural Needs, Statewide Answers: Improving Transportation for All Communities.

The interactive meeting will feature presentations on:

  • The changing demographics of Minnesota by Eric Guthrie, senior demographer in the Minnesota State Demographic Center.
  • The challenges and opportunities in providing access to health care and services in rural and/or disconnected settings by Valerie Lefler of Feonix – Mobility Rising. 
  • How effective community engagement strategies could be used to develop transportation infrastructure and safety improvements by Nichole Morris, director of the U's HumanFIRST Laboratory.

Attendees will also be invited to engage with our speakers and each other through conversation circle/fishbowl model discussions.


Eric Guthrie
Eric Guthrie

Eric Guthrie is a senior demographer in the Minnesota State Demographic Center. He came to the Demographic Center in May 2021, following time spent managing the South Dakota Rural Life and Census Data Center and serving as the state demographer in Michigan. Throughout his career, Guthrie has always found the greatest fulfillment in using demographic knowledge and techniques to help others better understand the world in which we live and work. This has led to countless presentations ranging from local township meetings to legislative testimony.

Valerie Lefler
Valerie Lefler

Valerie Lefler is the founder and executive director of Feonix – Mobility Rising. She is an international expert in rural transportation, accessibility, and mobility as a service. In its first six years, Feonix has launched programs in 10 states with notable partners, including the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center, Easterseals, the AARP Office of Driver Safety, Toyota North America Social Innovation, Ford Motor Company Fund, Centene Corporation, and the Michigan Department of Transportation. 

Nichole Morris
Nichole Morris

Nichole Morris is the director of the HumanFIRST Laboratory at the University of Minnesota. Her main research interests are in the human factors of transportation safety, especially as it relates to in-vehicle technologies, pedestrian and non-motorist safety, safety data collection, gender biases in trauma care, and work-zone safety. Her most recent research has examined interactions between drivers and automated vehicles, pedestrian safety programs, work-zone intrusion mitigation and documentation, rural intersection designs, police pursuits, vehicle collision detection and warnings with non-motorist road users, and in-vehicle displays for snowplow lane guidance. 


The event is free to attend, but registration is required. Please register by Friday, April 26

More Information

Please contact Samantha Hahn-Douville at