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Travel Training for Older Adults Part I: A Handbook (2014)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - How to Use this Handbook

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - How to Use this Handbook ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Travel Training for Older Adults Part I: A Handbook. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22299.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - How to Use this Handbook ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Travel Training for Older Adults Part I: A Handbook. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22299.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - How to Use this Handbook ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Travel Training for Older Adults Part I: A Handbook. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22299.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - How to Use this Handbook ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Travel Training for Older Adults Part I: A Handbook. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22299.
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1 How to Use this Handbook Objectives of this Handbook Mobility is central to our lives. To work, shop, get medical care, worship, enjoy educational and recreational opportuni- ties, or see friends and relatives, we need transportation. For many of these trips, most of us drive or ride with someone. For people without regular or reliable use of a car, other travel options are needed to fulfill their travel needs. By edu- cating people about other options, travel training has the potential to maintain or improve the mobility of older adults, people with disabilities, and others who are not able to drive or have someone else drive for them. Travel training can help anyone start using public transportation or use it more effec- tively. While clearly not “the one answer” for the travel needs of all older persons and all communities, travel training is a potent tool in the arsenal of strategies for improving or main- taining the mobility of older adults. TCRP Report 168: Travel Training for Older Adults, Part I: A Handbook provides tools for making travel train- ing more effective in meeting the mobility needs of older persons. The Handbook is intended to provide information for transit agencies and human services providers on how to create, implement, sustain, and evaluate travel training pro- grams for older adults who can use fixed route public transit. The Handbook is intended as a resource for professionals who manage and deliver travel training services. The Hand- book will be useful to program staff who work with seniors and people with disabilities, provide housing for older peo- ple, operate senior centers, and any others who work with older adults and want to support individual independence and mobility through safe and effective use of transporta- tion alternatives. The Handbook focuses on practical information that will help interested parties understand the following: • How providing low-cost travel alternatives for senior riders can increase their travel flexibility, independence, choices, and quality of life. • Which older adults are likely to benefit from travel training. • What elements of travel training programs are linked to greater success among different groups of older adults. • How effective methods of outreach and education can build awareness and knowledge of benefits to key target groups. • How effective travel training can increase public transit ridership. • What barriers have to be overcome to implement an effec- tive travel training program. This Handbook is intended to be a critical tool for those communities working to help older adults learn to travel inde- pendently in their communities by using public transportation. For some communities, the use of this Handbook, together with new or expanded senior travel training initiatives, should result in greater mobility for seniors and a measurable increase in the use of fixed route public transit services. This increased use of fixed route services should help relieve pressures on the paratransit services offered by the transit agencies. To make the best use of existing and future travel training programs, transit operators and human services transporta- tion providers need to understand which components of cur- rent travel training programs work best in which situations, which existing program components need modification to be effective with older persons, which new components to add, who are the most likely target groups for such programs, and what are the best ways to conduct outreach to those target groups. This Handbook will help meet those needs by describ- ing the following: • The fundamentals of travel training programs, including travel training outreach to the community and types of instruction and their component parts and content. • The benefits of travel training realized in the near future and in the long run. • Potential challenges to travel training programs, including perceptions or concerns of potential riders and their advo- cates, funding, and staffing and sustainability. C H A P T E R 1

2Information Sources Information for this Handbook comes from previous and new research; the new research focused on case studies of cur- rent travel training programs. Twenty case studies of travel training programs across the United States were selected because available information suggested that they were likely to be able to provide important details on how to create, sus- tain, and evaluate travel training programs for older adults. Another key factor was their willingness to cooperate with this research effort. In-depth case study data were collected on site for seven travel training programs deemed to have well-developed, suc- cessful programs. Information from 13 other sites was col- lected without site visits, but with extensive interviews and follow-up activities. A number of these 20 sites are referenced throughout this Handbook; summaries of the travel training programs of the seven sites are provided in this Handbook in Chapter 6. TCRP Report 168: Travel Training for Older Adults, Part II: Research Report and Case Studies includes case study reports on all 20 sites, which are identified in Table 1-1. Roadmap to the Handbook TCRP Report 168: Travel Training for Older Adults, Part I: A Handbook provides information for designing, operating, and evaluating travel training programs. This infor- mation should inspire better management decisions about travel training programs and how they can support local trans- portation services. A better understanding of advanced prac- tices in travel training also creates a framework for discussions Table 1-1. Travel training case study sites. Case Study Sites Program Sponsor In-depth Case Studies Boulder, Colorado Via Mobility Services Travel Training Via Mobility Services Chicago, Illinois RTA Travel Training Program Regional Transportation Authority New Brunswick, New Jersey NJTIP @ Rutgers Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Portland, Oregon RideWise Ride Connection Riverside, California Freedom to Go Riverside Transit Agency Sacramento, California Paratransit Mobility Training Paratransit, Inc. Trumbull, Connecticut Senior Mobility Orientation, Travel Training, and Other Training The Kennedy Center, Inc. Other Case Studies Akron, Ohio Travel Training METRO Regional Transit Authority Cambridge, Maryland DCS One-Stop Mobility Management Travel Training Program Delmarva Community Services, Inc. Canton, Ohio SARTA Travel Training Stark Area Regional Transit Authority Columbus, Ohio Travel Training Central Ohio Transit Authority Grand Rapids, Michigan The Rapid Travel Training The Rapid Grand River, Ohio Laketran Travel Training Laketran Meridian, Idaho Valley Regional Transit Travel Trainers Valley Regional Transit Monterey, California Monterey-Salinas Transit Travel Training Monterey-Salinas Transit Olympia, Washington Intercity Transit Travel Training Program Intercity Transit San Carlos, California SamTrans Mobility Ambassador Program San Mateo County Transit District San Jose, California The Mobility Options Program Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Spokane, Washington STA Mobility Training Spokane Transit Authority Washington, DC WMATA’s Travel Training and Outreach Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

3 of how to provide better mobility options throughout the community. This can help begin the process of establishing common understandings and measures to enhancing the effectiveness of travel training programs and to increase their benefits. This Handbook contains information in eight sections: the roadmap and five additional chapters of information, a glossary of technical terms, and a series of appendices. The Handbook is organized as follows: • Chapter 1: How to use this Handbook. • Chapter 2: An overview of key issues in travel training. • Chapter 3: Characteristics of successful programs. • Chapter 4: “How to” information on a wide variety of travel training topics. • Chapter 5: Information on how to improve current travel training practices. • Chapter 6: A brief discussion of the in-depth case studies conducted for this Handbook. • Glossary of technical terms. • Appendix A: List of information sources. • Appendix B: Suggested contents for travel training pro- gram forms. The chapters of this Handbook provide basic information that all persons involved in travel training for seniors should know and apply. The glossary provides standardized defini- tions of key transportation and training concepts, while the appendices provide detailed information on specific subjects that may or may not be relevant to all programs in all com- munities. All users are urged to pay close attention to the materials in the chapters and then select information from the appendices that may be relevant to their specific needs. There are two companion documents to this Handbook: • TCRP Report 168: Travel Training for Older Adults, Part II: Research Report and Case Studies provides basic informa- tion about travel training programs and the research activities that were used to develop the findings and recommendations in this Handbook. • TCRP Report 168: Travel Training for Older Adults, Exec- utive Summary provides an overview of the materials in this Handbook and the Research Report. This executive summary should be useful to explain the basic features of travel training and to interest important individuals in obtaining the full results of the study to apply in their local communities. Transportation providers—all organizations that provide community transportation services to consumers—should be considering the most effective ways to maintain and improve the mobility of people as they age. Increased attention to senior mobility can have significant positive impacts for older adults, transportation providers, and their communities. Data Limitations As a profession, travel training is relatively new. While the vast majority of its practitioners are highly dedicated, resource- ful, hardworking, and sensitive to individual needs, industry standards for data recording, evaluation, and reporting proce- dures have not yet been adopted or widely practiced. Many of the 20 case study sites applied significantly different procedures to recording and reporting their budgets, expenses, and results. This means that reports in this Handbook of some numerical values might not be confirmed by detailed audit procedures and that information reported by various sites may not be strictly comparable to reports from other sites. Some of the specific problems encountered were the following: • The use of varying accounting procedures and charts of accounts, meaning that some of the reported expenses were incomplete and thus understated. • An inability to distinguish among different types of clientele: for example, distinctions between young-old and old-old or between older adults with or without disabilities were not available. • Little differentiation of training modes or methods; some sites did not report numbers of trainees receiving one-on- one training versus other kinds of training, such as group training or orientation sessions. • No consistent follow-up procedures for trainees in terms of content or timing. Follow-up for trainees receiving one-on- one instruction was generally good; follow-up for trainees in group sessions or receiving other training was generally poor. • A variety of methods for determining the benefits of travel training. • A lack of long-range (more than 12 months) follow-up and benefit estimations. • A general lack of precision in reporting; a frequent use of “guesstimates” instead of precise reports. Information sought was often located in different places within documents and reports with some data available in computer-ready formats and other data only handwritten. • Reporting formats often depended more on the require- ments of the funding source than on the content or results of the training. All of the seven in-depth case study programs offer travel training to older adults as a component of, or outgrowth of,

4travel training for individuals with disabilities, including school- aged students with disabilities near or at the end of high school. Some case study programs reported results for the overall pro- gram but not for the portion of the program targeted at older adults. In several cases, older adults constituted a small portion of the overall training program, sometimes less than 10 percent. Far more detailed reports and outcomes were available for one- on-one training versus group training, but some programs did not report one-on-one training separately for older adults. Despite these issues, a tremendous amount of useful infor- mation is now available from these case study sites and other programs interested in improving travel training programs for older adults. Basic procedures and practices are now estab- lished, and the next step for the travel training industry is to take the kinds of information presented here to apply more consistent measures of its costs, benefits, and successes and to transmit that information to its sponsors, supporters, and other stakeholders.

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Travel Training for Older Adults Part I: A Handbook Get This Book
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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 168: Travel Training for Older Adults, Part I: A Handbook presents a comprehensive roadmap for designing a travel training program to meet the mobility needs of older persons. The Handbook, Part I, addresses the primary components of an effective travel training program and provides an extensive set of guidelines for transit agencies and human services providers on how to build and implement training programs to help older adults who are able to use fixed-route public transit.

The supplemental research report, Part II, reviews the research plan that produced this report as well as the case studies used to formulate the overall strategic program.

An Executive Summary brochure summarizes the highlights of TCRP Report 168, Parts I and II.

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