Rural transportation systems have different features and needs than their urban counterparts. To address safety and efficiency concerns in rural environments, advanced rural transportation systems (ARTS) test and deploy appropriate intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technologies, many of which require communication support. However, wireless communication systems that currently serve urban areas often are not available or suitable in rural environments. Thus, a need exists to identify communication solutions that are likely to address successfully the needs and features of ARTS applications. Current and emerging wireless communications systems and technologies have been systematically assessed with respect to rural ITS applications. Wireless communication functions associated with rural ITS functions are first identified. Then requirements for applicable communication technologies in the rural environment are defined. Existing and emerging wireless wireless communication systems and technologies are reviewed and evaluated by a systematic process of assessing rural ITS wireless solutions. Finally, recommendations for future research and operational tests are offered. The analysis results are expected to benefit rural ITS planners by identifying suitable wireless solutions for different rural contexts.