Foursquare ITP led this study to better understand the causes of the workforce shortage and deliver insights and actionable strategies to address the transit industry’s urgent workforce challenges. The nation is experiencing a labor shortage, a constrained supply chain, and inflation. While the workforce pressures facing transit providers are a symptom of our current economic trends, solving the transit workforce shortage is key to addressing these economy-wide challenges. These challenges compound as they interact with transit providers grappling with providing an essential service with a smaller and uncertain labor pool.

Foursquare ITP used a combination of surveys, interviews, and employment data to help transit agencies deal with labor uncertainty in times of economic turmoil. The study was comprised of two phases. Phase 1 included a survey of transit agencies and background research into the macro causes of the shortage, and Phase 2, included a frontline workers survey and in-depth interviews with select agencies to build case studies. We built on our long-standing relationships with transit agencies to survey and interview agency staff at multiple organizational levels to understand these issues’ contours and to learn how they are approaching solutions. We produced both a research report summarizing our findings as well as a toolkit for agencies and their partners to take action today and in the future.

In order for the public transportation industry to better understand the workforce shortage’s causes and provide best practices for recruiting, hiring, and retaining transit operations workers, Foursquare ITP worked with the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) to produce initial findings in a report entitled Transit Workforce Shortage: Root Causes, Potential Solutions, and the Road Ahead. Foursquare ITP staff has since presented on this work at several webinars and conferences, demonstrating its importance and reach.

Solutions and Outcomes
  • Developed a final research report.
  • Prepared a toolkit for agencies.