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Developing Resilience in Travel Training

In 2021, here at Utah Transit Authority (UTA) Travel Training, we move forward optimistically while navigating challenges that affect our industry. The way we travel train continues to evolve in order to meet today’s unique changes, but the heart of our work remains intact. Theneed for our clients to find autonomy in the community, improve their quality of life, and gain access and freedom by using public transportation, even during a pandemic. The pending challenge of “how” to accomplish this is the impetus in finding innovative ways to deliver these services to our consumers.

The lessons of 2020 set the ideal stage for developing skills of resiliency, revision, and creativity while thinking on our feet. From these lessons, I have identified the “ABC’s of Resilience in Travel Training” as a personal guide during changing times.

1- Align Goals- Take the time to align goals to the program you envision! Flexibility in pinpointing the right goals is helping us continue to show the value in our program while setting ourselves up for long-term success. In UTA, our first priority is getting our training services to the people needing them, but when referrals are slow coming, actively building bridges with partners in the community has helped us generate referrals while establishing needed rapport. We have found ways to bring our unique voice and experience to Homeless Shelter initiatives, UTA’s education committee, and ADA community boards, to name a few.

2- Build Skills- Travel instruction is more than just riding the bus with someone. It requires organizational skills, the ability to comprehend and employ processes, interact professionally, translate information in meaningful ways, utilize appropriate tools to improve communication, etc. Being intentional about skills development will increase malleability in answering the original question of “how”. As a member of the Association of Travel Instruction, I have gleaned abundantly from the conferences and professional development opportunities made available to us. I listened intently this summer to members in the association who are using technology in a variety of ways to expand their influence. It confirmed our own approach and fuels current ideas for video and website creation.

3- Create Opportunity- The Greek philosopher Heraclitus was right when he coined the term “The only constant in life is change.” We teach our client’s that fear is present in the unknown, but confidence is gained through learning step-by-step. This is no different when creating opportunities for ourselves. Creating a SWOT analysis could help us find where possible opportunities lie. Inviting key stakeholders for a brainstorming session can offer ideas that can be tested in small ways and that have minimal cost. At UTA, we have seen over the years how our program has gained value within our organization as well as in the community by testing out our ideas in small ways. Even when an outcome has not provided the result we were expecting, it has contributed to a new perspective and clearer understanding.

What learned lessons will you apply in 2021 to improve what you are doing? Take the time to compile your own personal list of ABC’s for Resilience in 2021.


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