Transition to Retirement: A Guide to Inclusive Practice: Adaptations for the Current U.S. Context

Appendix A: Travel Training

Appendix A sets out step-by-step information on:

  • Choosing to use public transportation
  • Travel planning
  • Travel training booklet
  • Travel training, fading support, and shadowing
  • When things go wrong
  • Training experienced travelers

Adaptations for the Current U.S. Context

Whether to Include Travel Skills Training

Travel skills training and independent travel by public transportation to and from a community group have multiple advantages:

  • Competence, confidence, and independence (with potential spin-off to other community activities using the same travel route)
  • Regularly using public transportation itself presents opportunities for congenial encounters and social inclusion
  • Reliable public transportation means the person does not miss going to their community group because private transport is sometimes unavailable
  • Cost saving when paid staff no longer need to provide transportation
  • Time saving for whoever would otherwise provide transport

These are all good reasons for offering travel skills training. However, for novice travelers, such training is quite time-consuming and so rather costly (but with large longer-term savings). Therefore, careful consideration is needed of whether to offer travel skills training as part of the TTR package, as an optional extra, or not at all. Of course, public transportation may be unavailable or inappropriate, depending on specific circumstances. The TTR manual (see pp. 134–136) discusses the various environmental and personal factors to be considered.

Updates on Travel Methods and Travel Skills Training

The Australian TTR participants used various means to travel to their community group/volunteering (see Bigby et al., 2014, Table 3), such as:

  • Walking
  • Bus and/or train (public transport)
  • Taxi
  • Car/van driven by disability service staff
  • Car/van/minibus provided by community group
  • Car driven by family or friend

There were no examples in Australia of people biking, driving themselves, traveling on a mobility scooter, using services such as Uber or Lyft, or using your community's public transportation service for people with disabilities. All these options are possible nowadays in the U.S. and likely will require some degree of planning, training, and ongoing support. The TTR Appendix A Travel training content focuses on public transportation (bus and/or train), so the other forms of transport listed above will require somewhat different planning, training, and ongoing support, although many features of the travel training approach described in the TTR manual will be relevant. For example, if it is feasible for the person to walk to their group, then planning and training may also involve:

  • Checking the person’s road safety skills and remedying any relevant gaps
  • Planning a safe walking route
  • Teaching the person to walk the planned route
  • Teaching the person how to deal with foreseeable problems that may arise when walking and ensuring that emergency backup is available in case an unforeseen problem occurs or the person does not return home at the expected time (see When Things Go Wrong on p. 143 of the TTR manual)

Other changes to the details of travel skills training relate to changes in fare payment systems, use of smartphone travel apps, and the advent of new travel services (e.g., Uber, Lyft). Thus, potential new training content may include:

  • using your smartphone to
  1. book and pay for a ride
  2. monitor transportation schedules
  • incorporating the reality of electronic fare payment on public transportation and managing keeping a positive balance; help with a stored value travel card to ensure the person is paying the reduced fare rate for Medicare card holders and people with disabilities