Travel instruction is the professional activity of teaching individuals with disabilities, seniors, and others how to use public transportation independently to access their environment and community.
Public transportation has a lot to offer individuals, families, and communities. It can help people get to key destinations like work, the doctor, or church – but only when people know how to use it. If you, your family member, or someone you work with does not know how to catch the bus, find a stop, or pay the fare, travel instruction can provide the missing link.
Read below or click the following links for information on
- Types of travel instruction
- Benefits of travel instruction
- Resources to learn more
- Finding a travel instruction program to enroll in
- Statewide network of travel instruction programs
Travel instruction includes at least three different services:
- Transit orientation explains transportation systems by sharing information about trip planning, schedules, maps, fare systems, mobility devices, and benefits and services. It may be conducted in a group or one-on-one.
- Familiarization teaches people who are experienced with traveling about a new route or mode of transportation. It may be conducted in a group or one-on-one.
- Travel training is an intensive, one-on-one process to help someone gain the knowledge and skills he or she needs to make trips independently. Travel training is individualized to meet each student’s unique needs.
Note: Travel instruction is not the same as Orientation and Mobility training for people with visual impairments. Orientation and Mobility training includes travel instruction but also covers a number of other skills. For Orientation and Mobility training in Massachusetts, contact the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.
Everybody wins from travel instruction:
- Individuals and their families benefit from travel instruction because it promotes independence and community living. It gives people more choice about how to get where they need to go.
- By offering travel instruction, human service agencies can help their consumers increase their mobility and their independence.
- Transit authorities benefit from travel instruction because it can help them increase ridership and save money. Riders may be able to shift some of their trips off paratransit services on to fixed route services, reducing costs for transit agencies.
- Travel Instruction – practice brief and toolkit. Scroll down to “Practice Briefs and Toolkits” to find a set of reports published by MassDOT, researched and written by MassMobility, including information on costs of starting a program, technical assistance and funding opportunities for programs in Massachusetts, and more.
- FAQs for individuals and families considering whether travel instruction would be helpful for themselves or their loved ones and for human service agencies and transit authorities considering offering travel instruction services. Travel Instruction FAQ
- The Association for Travel Instruction
- The Consortium for the Educational Advancement of Travel Instruction
- National Aging and Disability Transportation Center
- Easter Seals Project ACTION Consulting
- The Global Travel Training Community is an online forum where travel instructors from around the world share promising practices and brainstorm challenges with each other.
- Consult our map or list of travel instruction programs around Massachusetts,. If you know of a program that is not listed, please contact us so we can add it.
- If you do not see a travel instruction program listed for your area:
- Start by calling your local transit authority. Find out whether a transit authority covers your area and how to contact them here.
- If you participate in a social service program or live in a residential facility, ask program staff if they offer any travel instruction or can refer you to a local service.
- Massachusetts residents who are blind or low vision should contact the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind to learn about Orientation and Mobility services.
- Travel instructors, travel instruction program leaders, and anyone interested in starting a program in Massachusetts are invited to join an informal network of travel instruction programs here in the Commonwealth.
- The Massachusetts Travel Instruction Network offers the opportunity to connect with your peers across the state to share resources and promising practices and brainstorm solutions to challenges.
- Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join the mailing list or receive updates on statewide conference calls or meetings.
- The network has developed two resources:
- Recommended resources for new travel instruction programs
- Recommended performance measures for travel instruction programs - largely adopted by MassDOT and published as Suggested Performance Measures for Travel Instruction Program Grantees.,