What Independent Travel Training is
Independent Travel Training (ITT) provides tailored and practical help in learning to travel via public transport, on foot or by bicycle. The program aims to help people travel in a safe and independent way to their place of employment or education, or to leisure venues.
Travel training is about gaining the confidence to use public transport, demonstrating road safety awareness and ensuring people are able to travel by themselves without confusion or anxiety. Those who partake in ITT are taken on practical journeys by a travel trainer, who highlights important aspects of travel, and the rules of road safety, personal safety and what to do if lost or anxious. Travel training is a gradual process, and finishes with unaccompanied journeys.
All travel training is flexible and person-centred, so throughout the training process the various elements will be monitored and reviewed, and can be changed to suit individual needs. The aim is to prepare individuals for safer and more confident engagement with the community by encouraging independent yet considerate interaction with others. Safety is a key issue, but also tolerance and an enjoyment of the journey and what the community might offer.
Middlesbrough Council's Independent Travel Training program is supported by the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF), and was formally introduced in 2012.
How travel training is delivered
Travel training may be offered on a one-to-one basis or as a group session within a school.
The school-based program includes an OCN level 2 in Travel Training, delivered in five classroom sessions which offer an overview of ITT, personal safety, road safety, and journey planning followed by a practical journey. Any ITT offered to individuals will be built around the participant's current skills and needs, in order to develop their knowledge and confidence, and help them to become safe and independent travellers.
For the one-to-one training, the travel trainer will identify a route that the individual regularly travels (for example, from home to school or college). This route will be risk assessed to ensure it is the safest and most appropriate route for the trainee to take. The travel trainer will create a portfolio which includes risk assessment information and a progress chart, so everyone involved can see how well the learner is developing. Importantly, it also allows for adjustment where required to ensure the program is suitable for, and supportive of, the learner.
Who can undertake travel training
The scheme is primarily aimed at Middlesbrough residents who are likely to need transport via a taxi to school or college, or who are thought to be especially vulnerable.
Participating in Independent Travel Training is a positive lifestyle choice. The training will allow you to develop the confidence and skills needed to travel alone, making it easier for you to meet up with friends, go to college, find a job and become more independent.
When Karl approached the Independent Travel Training team, he had been receiving home to school transport for over 7 years throughout school, and into college. He had seen his friends undertake the training and wanted the freedom they now had. Karl's family were concerned and didn't think he could travel by himself. He began training in April, through a mixture of classroom based lessons and practical journeys, whilst the trainers reassured his parents with regular meetings at the end of each journey - showing the progress he made. Throughout the summer Karl's confidence grew and by the end of August, he was assessed and demonstrated he was able to travel independently. Karl returned to college in September on public transport with his friends, and since undertaking travel training, he has also gained part-time employment and gets there independently.
Sam was first introduced to travel training through a group session in his school. After completing the course, Sam wanted to learn how to travel to his new college in September. He undertook some practical training before college started, and was supported for the first week of term as he was anxious about the increased number of people on the bus, and missing his stop. By the second week, Sam was confident enough to try the journey independently. A different member of the team observed Sam making his journeys to assess whether he was ready. He was full of confidence and not only demonstrated his ability to travel independently, but he also made new friends on the college bus.