Offering travel instruction

Transit authorities, human service agencies, and educators can help people with disabilities, seniors, and others gain independence through learning to ride transit independently and safely.

What is travel instruction?

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. 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.

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 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.

Find a travel instruction program near you

Transit authorities, human service agencies, and school districts in your area may offer travel instruction programs. Find programs near you.

Resources for travel trainers and organizations looking to offer travel instruction

MassDOT and the MassMobility initiative offer technical assistance and professional development opportunities to organizations and individuals offering travel instruction in Massachusetts. If you are currently offering travel instruction or would like to, please contact us at to join the Massachusetts Travel Instruction Network list to receive:

  1. Professional development opportunities including notification of introductory and intermediate workshops on travel instruction, offered by expert travel trainers and provided free of charge thanks to funding from MassDOT
  2. Connections to other travel trainers
  3. Announcements related to travel instruction in Massachusetts

If you would like help starting a travel instruction program, please contact us, and we will do everything we can to assist you.

Travel instruction reports and toolkit

These reports provide information that may be helpful for organizations looking to start or expand their travel instruction programs.

Additional Resources

National resources

These national organizations promote travel instruction for individuals with disabilities and seniors, and offer technical assistance, educational and professional development to practitioners of travel instruction:


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