01/14/2015 01:47 EST | Updated 03/16/2015 05:59 EDT

Highway Of Tears Hitchhiking Study Stalled Due To Lack Of Funding

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A study on why women hitchhike along the so-called "Highway of Tears" between Prince George and Prince Rupert has stalled after researchers ran out of funding.

The study began as an online survey in 2012, and University of Northern British Columbia professor Jacqueline Holler said the next phase — in-person interviews — is in jeopardy.

"So many people have contacted us saying 'I want to participate, but I want to be interviewed in person.' It's also important because looking at the demographic information that people put in on-line, we believe that we're not talking to a truly representative group across the north," she told Daybreak North's Russell Bowers.

The study has received a small grant from the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health, but Holler said there isn't enough funding to make the necessary interviews a reality. 

"I think we desperately need more information on all aspects of this problem," she said.

Holler said while the work is still incomplete, the online survey contains interesting findings.

"We found that people had a lot of different hitchhiking experiences. People had positive ones, people had very negative ones. We also found that the people who had negative experiences did not report them to the police."

She said respondents also had suggestions for improving transportation through B.C.'s north, something she hopes will be explored in future research.


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