Hollandale - Homegrown Tools

Hollandale, MS

Updated: 2022

Recognizing that the availability of public transportation would enhance its economic development prospects, Hollandale partners with its neighboring communities to design, test, and implement an innovative rural transportation network.

Median Household Income2020$35,357
Poverty Rate 202032.3%
Proximity to Urban Center 106 miles to Jackson, Miss.
Proximity to Interstate Highway 68 miles
Case Study Time Frame 1998-2004
Municipal Budget FY20171.9 million
Data Source: US Census, American Community Survey
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A prominent challenge in rural Hollandale is the town’s relative isolation – from health care facilities, institutions of higher education, job opportunities and basic shopping. Prior to 1999, a resident without a car had to pay $20 for a simple trip to the grocery store, 30 miles away in Washington. In 1999 the Hollandale Economic and Community Development Foundation committed to solving the town’s transportation issues. Doing so, foundation members believed, would help address other challenges for Hollandale, including low educational attainment, high unemployment and inadequate housing. In 2000 the foundation received a grant to purchase several vans and hire drivers to transport residents to and from work, school, shopping and health care. Today residents of Hollandale (and the surrounding area) have an affordable and reliable mode of public transportation.


What are the lessons learned from this story?


Regional collaboration is critical when facing the challenge of rural transportation. For Hollandale to develop a transportation network to serve its rural population, the town had to reach out and include its regional neighbors in the conversation at the outset. Not only did the initial Kellogg grant require such collaboration, but the long-term sustainability of HEGA depended on having a critical mass of fee-paying riders. Organizations in each town were ready and willing to work together on the transportation challenge. These included the Hollandale Economic and Community Foundation, the Elizabeth Community Development Corp. and the Glen Allan Improvement Association. Communities with similar challenges should seek out partners with common issues and craft regional solutions.


Find a common solution to persistent rural challenges. The Hollandale foundation started with a survey to identify the major issues confronting the town’s residents. The survey identified four of these issues: education, health care, jobs and transportation. The foundation looked at relationships among these issues and found that most were contingent on people having access to transportation. Local leaders then understood that all their problems were interrelated. This analytic process produced a solution that addressed each of Hollandale’s needs.


Reliable local data help convince outsiders to believe. Hollandale took an important step when it commissioned a local transportation impact study. This study resulted in specific community- level transportation data, which the town used to convince outside grant-makers that HEGA was a smart investment. In addition, it helped to convince policy-makers that rural transportation was a viable (if incremental) strategy for alleviating a range of economic challenges.