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Making Better Connections – Impact of Travel Training is Evident for Central Maryland and Beyond

As we transition into fall, we reflect on our busy and successful summer of webinars, resource development, presentations, and technical assistance. We are joined on the blog today by our friends at Central Maryland Regional Transit (CMRT). In June we were fortunate to have CMRT join us at the NADTC Celebration & Briefing Event to talk about their efforts to provide individuals with the support and training needed to independently navigate public transportation. We also heard from a graduate of the CMRT program, DeMario Green, on how access to transportation and travel training positively impacted his life. Read below to learn more about CMRT and DeMario’s inspiring story.

Pictured: DeMario Green (center) with NADTC Co-Directors Carol Wright (left) and Virginia Dize (right) at the NADTC June Celebration & Briefing Event.

Pictured: DeMario Green (center) with NADTC Co-Directors Carol Wright (left) and Virginia Dize (right) at the NADTC June Celebration & Briefing Event.

Learning to use public transportation confidently and independently can be intimidating for people of any ability, but can pose a special challenge for an individual experiencing disability. Travel training can help people learn to navigate complex transit systems and assist them in feeling comfortable making regional connections.

DeMario Green is a 2015 graduate of the CMRT’s Travel Training program. DeMario was in a serious motorcycle accident in 2012 that resulted in trauma to his leg and he lost the use of his left arm. Because of these injuries, DeMario is unable to drive.  DeMario enrolled in CMRT’s one-on-one travel training program after his initial experience with public transportation left him uncertain of the correct route to take and resulted in exiting at the wrong stop. He was referred to CMRT by the Maryland Department of Rehabilitative Services to gain confidence and become an independent traveler.

Finding employment after the accident was a priority for DeMario, and he needed assistance to learn about the local transit systems he would be relying on for transportation to and from the work place. Through CMRT’s travel training process, DeMario learned how to plan trips to get exactly where he wants to go. DeMario learned how to use Google Maps to plan his trip from his home to the Workforce Technology Center. He learned about counting stops to ensure that he exited the bus at the right destination. He learned where to find information on fares, schedules, and maps, including understanding the TRIP website.

TRIP stands for Transportation Resource Information Point. TRIP is a one-call, one-click resource that provides information on public, private, and human services transportation throughout the state of Maryland. These efforts empower older adults, individuals with disabilities, veterans, and the general public to safely and confidently navigate the complex transit network in Maryland.

For DeMario, the confidence he gained in his travel ability could not have been achieved without the support of the travel training program and the technical assistance provided by community partners. DeMario has since completed the program, and continues to successfully ride fixed route public transportation to this day. He has said that he believes his days of taking the wrong light rail train are in the past!

Central Maryland Regional Transit’s travel training program has served hundreds of individuals throughout the region, and the team works alongside numerous human services agencies, community organizations, and local governments to provide travel training and technical assistance at no cost. In 2016, CMRT created accessible turn-by-turn directions for the BaltimoreLink system, enabling individuals with visual impairments and people who desired more context to better interpret what their trip would be like. To learn more about CMRT, visit  the website. Interested in travel training? Contact CMRT’s  Outreach Coordinator. Want to plan your next TRIP in Maryland? Call 1-877-331-TRIP or visit mdtrip.org today!

 

 

About the Author:

Jaime McKay, TRIP Community Mobility Coordinator, has been working to improve transportation options for all members of the community throughout her short career. Starting in smart growth and alternative fuels, Ms. McKay now focuses on using technology to enhance mobility options throughout Maryland, and was part of the team that implemented General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) throughout the state, winning the 2016 Young Professionals in Transportation Project of the Year Award in the process. Ms. McKay is an avid cyclist, and volunteers often with the local animal society.

(240) 581-5786

Jaime.mckay@cmrtransit.org

 



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