What is Travel Training?
Travel training is a program that equips people who are new to public transit with the knowledge and confidence to travel more independently. In Ontario, travel training participants are most often:
- People with disabilities: some people have experienced difficulties using public transit independently in the past. Many people with limited mobility who have in the past relied on paratransit services are now able to use accessible public transit. People with other types of disabilities may not be using public transit at all because of a perception that these services are difficult to use, or that the service will not meet their individual needs.
- Seniors: many automobile-driving seniors in North America who are not familiar with public transit services shift to transit as their ability to drive declines.
- Newcomers: may not be familiar with local service options, and may have difficulties interpreting written information if their knowledge of English is very limited.
Travel training programs typically include in-class and on-the-road training components, in order to provide both a theoretical and practical foundation, which help to accommodate different learning styles and abilities.
What are the Benefits of Travel Training?
- Provides a wider range of travel options
- Allows people who have relied on paratransit to travel more spontaneously and independently
- Allows people to travel outside the “home” municipality where they are eligible for paratransit
For transit agencies:
- Ensures that people who want to use public transit services are well-prepared and know what to expect
- Encourages people to use public transit whenever possible so that scarce paratransit services, which are more expensive to provide, can be directed to customers who need them the most
For community agencies:
- Improves access to agency services, and improve quality of life for their clients
Metrolinx “On Our Way” Travel Training Program
The idea for the Metrolinx “On Our Way” Travel Training Program came from various transit, health and community agencies who do not currently offer travel training programs. These agencies expressed an interest in having Metrolinx develop a travel training program which could be customised to suit their services.
The program was developed with the guidance of a steering committee consisting of representatives from municipal transit agencies, community agencies, and Accessibility Advisory Committees at Metrolinx. It draws on existing “best practices” from travel training experience elsewhere.
The “On Our Way” program includes the following customisable template materials, which are being made available to any agencies to use in developing their own travel training program:
- Transit System Accessibility Checklist: a checklist template for transit agencies to assess the level of accessibility of their services.
- Travel Training Manual: a training template for train-the-trainer sessions, to be used by transit agency staff to train staff from community agencies (and other potential partners) to deliver customised programs to suit their clients’ needs.
- Implementation Toolkit: this template includes implementation guidelines for customising the “On Our Way” program, along with other useful resources.
- Traveller's Handbook: a resource handbook template for customers who participate in the travel training program.
- PowerPoint training template: a presentation template that can be used by trainers when delivering travel training sessions.