The National Academies

TCRP Synthesis J-07/Topic SF-21 [Active (Synthesis)]

Attracting, Retaining and Advancing Women in Transit
[ TCRP J-07 (Synthesis of Information Related to Transit Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 6/4/2018 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Research Agency: ICF
Principal Investigator: Allison Alexander
Effective Date: 10/18/2018
Fiscal Year: 2018

Final Scope


Women have traditionally been underrepresented in the transit workforce.  As career opportunities in transit grow, it is imperative that women are hired and succeed in transit jobs. A critical first step to ensure success in these areas is to remove barriers to entry and address challenges women face once employed. Additional resources are needed to help transit agencies overcome barriers to cultivate a desirable workplace for women to find and sustain employment.

The objective of this research is to explore the strategies that have been deployed to date in transit and related industries in order to recruit, retain and advance women in a variety of roles. The synthesis will seek to identify narratives, current practices and lessons learned in transit and other industries that address the following areas (note this is not an all-inclusive list):


·        Current barriers (state of the industry)

·        Culture, initiative or strategies to recruit, retain and advance women.

·        Evidence of how the culture is reinforced.

·        Initiatives and strategies implemented

o   Keyplayers

o   Process to identify barriers/ challenges

o   Outcomes

o   Resources needed (costs, staffing, technology, etc.)

·        Impacts to the organization ( policy and procedures, female perspective included, customer satisfaction, employee morale, etc.)

·        Other considerations

o   Union vs. non-union

o   Front line and/ or administration

o   Individual contributors vs. management/leadership

o   Operation vs. maintenance


Information will be gathered by literature review, and a survey to identify transit systems that have built a culture or implemented strategies to recruit, retain or advance women. A variety of case examples to include groups represented under other considerations will also be included in the synthesis. These should highlight successes, challenges and lessons learned. Gaps in information and future research needs will also be covered in the study.



Sources of information:

Greenberg, H., & Sweeney, P. (2005). Leadership: Qualities that distinguish women. Financial Executive,21(6), 32-36.

Poore, M., Anderson, L., Alexander, A., Anderson, E., Jenkins, J., & Cronin, B. (2014). White Paper: Women in Transportation.

Skinner, R. E., Jr., (2000). Transportation in the 21st century. Public Roads, 64, 42-49.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015). Women in the Labor Force: A Databook. Retrieved from


2015.pdf U.S. Department of Transportation (2015). Women and Skilled Careers in Transportation. Retrieved from




TRB Staff

Mariela Garcia-Colberg

Phone: 202-334-2361

Email: mgarciacolberg@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel: October 18, 2018, Washington, DC
Teleconference with Consultant: TBD
Second Panel: June 14, 2019, Washington, DC

Topic Panel 

Jennifer Barrett, SEPTA

Joey Collins, Seattle Pacific University

Rachel Dungca, Metro Transit

Cleveland Ferguson, III, Jackosnville Transportation Authorithy

Elba Higueros, LA Metro

Elizabeth Presutti, Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority

Xinge  Wang, Transportation Learning Center

Kristen Davis, OST Office of International Aviation





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