Ride Connection A Guide to Travel Training

Ride Connection (Ride Wise,
TriMet). (2009) A Guide to Travel Training. [Document may not be replicated without express written permission from Ride Connection, Inc.: ridewise@rideconnection.org] 

This comprehensive guide to travel training was produced by Ride Connection, Inc. with funding from Special Transportation Funds through the Oregon Department of Transportation Public Transit Division. The guide provides suggested lesson plans as well as field training activities for travel trainers to utilize when delivering training to clients that supports their independent travel using the fixed-route public transportation system.  Travel training programs offer a variety of services that may include: 1) personalized trip planning, to provide customers with information on all available transportation options; 2) vehicle familiarization services, for those with disabilities or others who may require specialized assistance while boarding the vehicle; 3) volunteer travel training programs, that connect customers needing assistance with a volunteer to help them negotiate the transit system; and 4) specialized short-term individualized instruction with a staff travel trainer.  

The guide covers a range of lesson topics and other recommendations for staff travel trainers to use while implementing intensive one-on-one instruction. Topics include: ethics (e.g. customer confidentiality, conflicts of interest, informed consent and liability issues, and boundary setting); understanding and helping clients to identify and manage fears and emotions about and while traveling independently; identifying potential sources of support; and working with a client’s natural support network. The guide additionally discusses a step-by-step process for travel trainers to progress from the referral of an individual for travel training through an initial interview and finally, if appropriate, to the development of an instructional plan for the individual. The instructional plan focus on obtaining requisite travel skills such as an awareness of personal space, an awareness of the environment around the traveler, and the ability to recognize and respond to unsafe situations. Safe and appropriate behavior on the bus are emphasized as well as consequences for inappropriate behaviors. Independent travelers also must know how to self-advocate when they require assistance. The guide provides suggestions on helping clients navigate through their environment using the transportation system (e.g. recognizing landmarks, signage, street names and numbers, and mapping skills). The trainer must also be able to identify environmental barriers along the planned route of travel (e.g. walking distance, poor sidewalks or uneven terrain, etc.), physical barriers (e.g. use of a mobility device, vision or hearing impairment, personal stamina), and social barriers (e.g. sensitivity to overcrowding), and be sure that trainees have the skills required to travel safely and to deal with emergencies.   The guide additionally outlines tips to implementing effective field training experiences and highlights the importance of conducting evaluations during and after the training session in order to assess whether the trainee has achieved all required competencies by the end of the training and to ascertain the lasting effect of the training.  

Finally, the guide provides resources on different types of disabilities and on the rights and responsibilities for people with disabilities established by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).