TransitCenter is working to make transit agencies more accountable, attuned to best practices, and responsive to rider needs.
Improving Agency Practice
TransitCenter’s agency practice team is a resource for agency staff and leadership who are seeking to put better transit on our streets, grow ridership, and create more just and sustainable cities. We elevate inclusive and progressive approaches to transit operations, governance, and workforce development through practitioner-informed research, case studies, and good practice synthesis. We shed light on the obstacles transit agencies face as they endeavor to provide high quality transit, while also challenging them to eliminate decades-long cultural and institutional barriers to change.
Our work aims to aid transit agency boards, executives and staff in centering riders in transit agency decisions and processes. We work in three key areas – Governance, Workforce and Talent, and Delivering Operations – believing that prioritizing riders in those realms will have cascading impacts across the industry.
Governance: Transit needs governance bodies that are informed and accountable. It needs leaders who are knowledgeable about the important role transit plays in creating and shaping access as well as the perils of poor policy. Our work advocates for improved governance practices amongst transit agency boards and executive leadership and a rethinking of policies, such as fare and safety/policing policies, that place an unjust burden on marginalized populations.
Workforce + Talent: Transit agencies are facing a myriad of unprecedented challenges with regard to their workforce including a looming wave of retirements in the coming decade and difficulties recruiting new operators. Agencies must contend with a striking lack of racial and gender representation among staff and at the executive level. Our work focuses on advocating around these two core challenges, calling for racial and gender representation that is reflective of ridership, particularly at the executive level; and elevating the obstacles bus operators face and how transit agencies can better attract and retain new operators. A core program of this effort is Women Changing Transportation, a program to foster community among women in the transportation field, recognizing the shared challenges we face in a field dominated by men and masculine-normative ideals of success.
Delivering Operations: As cities open back up after a year of COVID stay-at-home orders, transit agencies are grappling with decimated budgets, vehicle operator shortages, and service patterns and ridership that has been significantly reduced. With much still unknown, how do transit agencies resume service that riders need? How do agencies simultaneously ensure the health and safety of their workforce? We are focusing on the questions and challenges that agencies face as they begin to restore service to pre-pandemic levels.