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American Public Transportation Association

 New Proposed APTA Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan

Back in 2016, a Task Force was established to review and update APTA’s current Diversity Council Plan and Structure. As of today, we have created an APTA Diversity and Inclusion Strategic proposal that proactively creates a diverse and inclusive environment. This is a priority not only of our Chair, Doran Barnes, and myself, but of dozens of committed members who have worked diligently on this topic.

To move forward, we need your help. We want and need to hear from you.

Click here to access the pdf​ of the new proposed APTA's Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan for your review and comment. Please send your comments to by July 31, 2017. The final plan will be presented for approval by APTA’s Board of Directors on October 7, 2017.

Thank you,

Nathaniel Ford
APTA Vice-Chair and Chair of the APTA Diversity Council


Please find below APTA's current Diversity Plan approved by the APTA Board of Directors, September 10, 2016

APTA defines diversity as the inclusion of differences and similarities from all categories of members and covers such areas as disability, gender, gender identity and sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, and geographic origin, size of transit property or business member organization, all of which contribute to the fulfillment of APTA’s mission. When the term diversity is used in this document it includes but may not be limited to these groups.


WHEREAS, it is the goal of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) to promote and value diversity as a strength of the industry and the Association; 
WHEREAS, APTA is committed to promoting greater understanding of the importance of mobility and access in strengthening the overall quality of life in the diverse communities served by public transportation throughout North America; 
WHEREAS, APTA reaffirms its commitment to diversity goals and policies that result in diversity being encouraged, promoted and celebrated throughout all levels of the Association during the normal course of the Association’s business and programs; 
WHEREAS, the APTA Board of Directors and Executive Committee shall adopt policies and programs to reflect, increase, promote, support and sustain the diversity of the APTA membership in all levels of the organization; 
WHEREAS, the responsibility for implementation of these policies and programs rests with the leadership of the Association and the APTA President & CEO; 
Now, therefore, be it resolved that the APTA Executive Committee hereby establishes the Diversity Council and the Diversity Plan.


The Diversity Council reports directly to the APTA Chair and APTA Executive Committee. 
Members of the Diversity Council shall include nine (9) Designated positions and eleven (11) Appointee positions, as described below:


  1. APTA Vice Chair
  2. APTA Immediate Past Chair
  3. APTA Human Resources Committee
  4. Chair, APTA Procurement & Materials Management Committee
  5. Chair, APTA Access Committee
  6. Chair, APTA Policy and Planning Committee
  7. Chair, APTA Legislative Committee
  8. Chair, Business Member Board of Governors (BMBG)
  9. Chair, Transit Board Members Committee


  1. Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) Representative (appointed by COMTO)
  2. Women Transportation Seminar (WTS) Representative (appointed by WTS)
  3. Business Member At-Large (appointed by BMBG Chair)
  4. Leadership APTA Graduate (appointed by Leadership APTA Committee Chair for 1-year term)
  5. Disability Community Member (public or private APTA member; appointed by the Access Committee Chair)
  6. At Large Position (2-year term)
  7. At Large Position (3-year term)
  8. At Large Executive Committee Member
  9. LGBT Task Force co-chairs  

The APTA Vice Chair shall serve as Chair of the Diversity Council. 
Designated members shall be limited in term by the very nature of the position in which they are serving. 
Appointed members, unless otherwise noted, shall be appointed by the APTA Chair. Appointed members shall be limited to one term of three (3) years, with the exception of one of the At Large positions, which shall be a two (2) year term, and the Leadership APTA Graduate who shall be chosen annually from the most recent graduating class.
The APTA Chair shall designate the 3-year At-Large position to serve as Vice Chair of the Diversity Council, to chair meetings in the absence of the Chair of the Diversity Council.


The role of the Diversity Council shall be to:

  • monitor and evaluate APTA programs and activities to ensure that diversity policies are supported and implemented throughout the Association;
  • monitor the implementation of and progress on the Diversity Plan; evaluate and recommend changes to the Diversity Plan;
  • provide recommendations to the Executive Committee on diversity concerns or issues raised within APTA or in the transit industry;
  • provide support and guidance to the respective committees represented by the members of the Diversity Council; and
  • provide an annual status report on the Diversity Plan to the APTA Board of Directors at its Annual Meeting.


Goal #1: To promote diversity as a strength of the industry and implement diversity policies and programs at all levels of the organization.

  1. Incorporate diversity issues into conference sessions, training workshops, webinars, and eLearning resources for members and staff.
  2. Annually conduct an orientation for new Executive Committee members and APTA committee chairs on APTA’s Diversity Plan.
  3. Through APTA’s online resources on Workforce Development, provide member access to best practices, expert industry contacts, lessons learned and other resources.
  4. Ensure that APTA career development and training programs for employees at all levels of members’ organizations, including the Early Career Program and Frontline Employee training, are available to persons with diverse backgrounds and capabilities.
  5. Through the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) Scholarship Program, encourage young professionals of diverse backgrounds and capabilities to choose careers in public transportation.
  6. Continue to include Minority and Women Advancement as a qualitative measure for scoring nominees for the Public Transportation System Outstanding Achievement Awards.
  7. Promote and support programs and activities of industry partners including Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) and Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) and encourage reciprocal support of APTA’s programs and activities. (APTA/COMTO/WTS staffs hold coordinating meetings on a periodic basis.)
  8. Provide and report to the APTA Board of Directors an annual status report on APTA’s Diversity Plan including any recommendations on how to improve diversity policies and programs throughout the organization.

Goal #2. To communicate diversity as a transit industry value in APTA publications and communications.

  1. Publish APTA’s Diversity Policy in APTA’s corporate documents to reinforce its commitment.
  2. Post the annual report of the Diversity Plan on the APTA website and publish its availability in Passenger Transport.
  3. Publish achievements of LGBT, minority and women leaders in Passenger Transport and PT Express.
  4. Publish three or more articles per year by the Human Resources Committee in Passenger Transport, in the APTA website or in PT Express. (Member profiles, workforce development products, best practices.)
  5. Publish in Passenger Transport or PT Express two or more articles per year on procurement and LGBT, minority and/or women-owned business contracting issues consistent with APTA’s mainstreaming initiative.

Goal #3. To enhance opportunities for substantive contributions to the transit industry and participation in APTA leadership roles and activities by members with diverse backgrounds and capabilities.

  1. Hold member orientation sessions at all major conferences in order to familiarize new members and new attendees with APTA’s programs, committee structure, networking and other participation opportunities.
  2. Achieve APTA’s diversity goal established by the Executive Committee in 1999 of a minimum of 30% participation of women and minority speakers at all major conferences; including a minimum of 10% women and 10% minority participation within the 30% goal.  Actively encourage persons with disabilities, LGBT, young professionals, and representatives of other segments of APTA’s diverse membership, to request speaker opportunities through the “Call for Papers” process.
  3. The annual Leadership APTA class should include members with diverse backgrounds and capabilities.
  4. Achieve APTA’s diversity goal established by the Executive Committee in 1999 of a minimum of 30% participation in APTA committees by women and minorities; including a minimum of 10% women and 10% minority participation within the 30% goal.  Actively encourage persons with disabilities, young professionals, and representatives of other segments of APTA’s diverse membership, to join APTA committees.
  5. Identify opportunities through APTA’s partnerships with WTS,COMTO and others to enhance the development of minority, women, LGBT and small business owners for future leadership opportunities within APTA and the industry.
  6. Identify opportunities through APTA’s partnership with Easter Seal’s Project ACTION and other organizations representative of the disability community for increasing involvement of persons with disabilities in APTA's programs and activities.
  7. Maintain a resource database of minority, women, and LGBT general managers, presidents/CEOs, assistant general managers and vice presidents for use in identifying potential candidates for career opportunities within the industry and for leadership opportunities within APTA.
  8. Identify opportunities for minorities, women, and LGBT among the Transit Board Members and Business Members to increase their participation within APTA including leadership opportunities.

Goal #4: To promote the development of transit leaders with a commitment to diversity.

  1. To ensure that the APTA leadership displays a commitment to diversity, require all nominees for office on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors to articulate and demonstrate his/her commitment to diversity in the nomination form.
  2. The APTA Chair should ensure that his/her appointees to the APTA Nominating Committee reflect the diverse backgrounds of the APTA membership.
  3. Diversity training should be included in the Leadership APTA curriculum and other training programs that may be offered by APTA for the development of industry leaders.

Goal #5: To promote and recommend diversity policies for APTA staff and programs.

  1. APTA’s workforce should reflect an equal or greater percentage of minorities and women than the workforce data reported in the Washington, D.C. region’s latest census data.
  2. Ensure that APTA annually meets a DBE contracting and procurement goal of 20%.
  3. Implementation of APTA’s Diversity Plan is considered by the Executive Committee in its review of the APTA President’s annual performance review.
  4. APTA satisfies diversity requirements associated with Federal grants.
  5. APTA staff conducts an annual review of internal procurement processes relative to DBE and revises internal procedures as needed.

Goal #6: To increase business opportunities in the transit industry for minority/ women owned businesses including DBE firms.

  1. Achieve a 10 % increase in the number of minority/women owned businesses including DBE firms exhibiting over the previous Expo. APTA’s Expo consultant meets or exceeds its contractual DBE goal of 15% to subcontract with minority/women owned businesses including DBE firms.
  2. Achieve a 10 % net growth of minority and/or women owned businesses including DBE firms within APTA’s annual net growth in membership.
  3. Identify APTA member DBE firms in APTA’s online Buyers Guide.
  4. Provide networking opportunities for minority/women owned businesses including DBE firms through activities such as, BMBG networking breakfasts and other potential activities in collaboration with COMTO and WTS.
Diversity Plan cc edits V8-52517.pdf
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