There are many aspects of the transportation industry that can be focused on, but the lack of resiliency is one of the most urgent. Enhancing resiliency and creative problem-solving is essential to the industry’s growth and survival. But it cannot happen without building a more diverse workforce. Women still make up a small fraction of transportation workers, and African American and Hispanic employees are even less represented. These disparities are increasingly pronounced in many senior positions, particularly in STEM fields. Meanwhile, the public transportation industry is experiencing a severe and worsening workforce shortage and many agencies have reported substantial difficulty recruiting, retaining, and developing skilled workers. Considering the transit industry’s existing diversity and inclusion toolkits and guidelines, this project emphasizes lessons from in-depth interviews with leaders from 18 transit agencies across the country. The interviews illuminate the existing challenges and creative solutions around transit workforce diversity and inclusion. From the interviews, we discovered: 1) the critical factors that impact the current level of diversity and career mobility within transit agencies; 2) how diversity efforts help explore resources and provide opportunities for effective and robust employee engagement; and 3) the significance of evaluation systems in creating a more transparent recruitment process that initiates structural shifts, resulting in better recruiting. Moving towards inclusive and equitable workforce environments is a healing process that starts with understanding these gaps. We call this effort Healing the Workforce through Diversification.

Publication Date


Publication Type



Workforce and Labor

Digital Object Identifier


MTI Project



Social Inclusion, Gender Equity, Meaningful Engagement, Societal Imbalance, Effective Communication, Career Mobility, Interagency Partnership


Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Transportation