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Travel Instruction

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Mobility Management Center

Travel instruction is the professional activity of teaching individuals to access their community via public transportation safely and independently. It is mostly targeted to seniors and people with disabilities but anyone, regardless of age and ability, can benefit from learning how to use the fixed route public transit system.

Public transit services are operated by 15 Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) and the MBTA in Massachusetts. Most RTAs and many social service agencies teach interested individuals how to read system maps, timetables, board a bus, or pay a fare. With such skills individuals can travel to key destinations of their choice -including employment, education, social and medical services, or recreational activities- safely and independently. Depending on individual need, travel instruction consists of different activities and degrees of intensity. Please choose the level that best fits your individual need and contact the provider near you.

  • Transit orientation explains transportation systems by sharing information about schedules, maps, fare systems, mobility devices, and trip planning. It may be conducted in a group or one-on-one.
  • Familiarization teaches people who are somewhat 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 activity to help someone gain the knowledge and skills needed to make trips independently. Travel training is tailored to meet each trainee's unique needs.

Travel instruction services offered by providers listed below are free of charge for participants in Massachusetts.

For Seniors, People with Disabilities and the General Public

If you are interested in learning travel skills and would like to participate in any level of travel instruction, please see the map and call the provider near you.

For school districts

Many schools offer travel instruction as part of special education curriculum or transition services. View the list of RTAs that currently offer travel instructions for schools.

For Travel Instructors

  • New or experienced travel instructors, program managers, and anyone interested in starting a travel instruction program in Massachusetts are invited to join an informal network. The Massachusetts Travel Instruction Network (MATIN) offers the opportunity to connect with your peers across the state to share resources, promising practices and brainstorm solutions to challenges.
  • Throughout the year, MassDOT sponsors multi-day travel instruction workshops for new and experienced travel instructors.

If you would like to be part of MATIN, receive updates on statewide conference calls or network meetings and would like to learn about upcoming train-the-trainer workshop opportunities, please contact hstmobility@state.ma.us.

Practice Briefs and Toolkits

These publications provide you helpful information and tools on how to set up a travel instruction program, how to identify common costs associated with starting a program, how to measure program performance, and how to seek technical assistance and funding.

Resource Guide

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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