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American Public Transportation Association

 APTA Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan

Please find below APTA's Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan adopted by the APTA Board of Directors, November, 2018 
(download pdf version​​)
APTA promotes an inclusive culture that supports and celebrates the unique attributes and perspectives of its individual members, allowing each and every person to make their fullest contribution to the industry. 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, race 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 create an environment of inclusion that welcomes and values the diversity of its membership as a strength of the industry and the Association; 
WHEREAS, an inclusive environment is essential for each and every member to contribute to the fullest towards achieving the goals and objectives of 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 the goals and policies that result in diversity and inclusion being encouraged, promoted and innate to the business processes and activities throughout all levels of the Association during the course of the Association’s business and programs; 
WHEREAS, the APTA Board of Directors and Executive Committee shall adopt policies and programs that
establish a culture of inclusion as a foundation that reflects, increases, promotes, supports and sustains 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 and Inclusion Council and the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan.


The Diversity and Inclusion Council reports directly to the APTA Chair and APTA Board of Directors. 
Membership to the Council shall be open to all APTA members in good standing. Council leadership shall be provided through a Steering Committee, including eleven (11) Designated positions and four (4) Appointee positions, as described below:


  1. APTA Immediate Past Chair, Council Chair
  2. APTA Vice Chair, Council 2nd Vice Chair
  3. Chair, APTA Workforce Development 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
  10. Co-Chair LGBT Task Force (selected from amongst 3 co-chairs of the Task Force)
  11. APTA President and CEO


  1. Council Vice Chair (appointed by membership at large)
  2. Council Secretary (appointed by Council Chair)
  3. Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) Representative (appointed by COMTO)
  4. Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) Representative (appointed by WTS)
  5. Leadership APTA Graduate (appointed annually by Leadership APTA Committee Chair from the most recent graduating class for 1-year term)

The APTA Immediate Past Chair shall serve as Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Council. 


The Vice Chair of the Council shall be appointed by Council members from the membership at large for a term of three (3) years. The appointment will take place by election at the Council meeting during the APTA Annual Meeting where the sitting Vice Chair’s term ends. All votes shall be by simple majority of Council members present and voting.  Nominations for Council Vice-Chair shall be solicited in writing 60 days prior to the date of the Council meeting where voting takes place. Nominations may also be accepted from the floor at the Council meeting where voting takes place.

The Vice Chair shall chair meetings in the absence of the Chair of the Council and assist the Chair in the development and conduct of Council activities. He/she shall serve a term of three (3) years. 


The APTA Vice Chair shall serve as the 2nd Vice Chair of the Council.

The Council Secretary will be appointed by the Council Chair for a term of three (3) years. The Secretary shall be responsible for keeping records of Committee actions, including the certifying of minutes of Committee meetings, and carrying out such other duties as may be assigned by the Chair.​ 


The Diversity and Inclusion Council shall conduct its business through a series of in-person meetings outlined below.  In addition the Council may schedule additional virtual meetings when needed, ensuring the schedule maximizes access to and inclusion of as many APTA members as possible.

Council Meeting Schedule


APTA Annual Meeting

In-person Council meeting






APTA December Meetings/Conference call

Strategic Planning session of Steering Committee/Council






APTA Legislative Conference

In-person Council meeting






Rotate between APTA Bus and Rail Conferences

In-person Council meeting



The role of the Diversity and Inclusion Council shall be to:

  • Serve as an advocate and support for advancing diversity and inclusion practices throughout the Association and industry;
  • Establish APTA’s goals and objectives for promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the Association, its strategic plan, policies, business practices, and activities;
  • Establish and maintain a multi-year Work Program, including timeline, budget, measures of success for activities towards meeting the goals and objectives established by the Council’s Strategic Plan;
  • Annually monitor and report out on the implementation of and progress in completing the Work Program;
  • Evaluate the outcomes of efforts towards achieving the goals and objectives of the Council, and provide recommendations to the Executive Committee on diversity and inclusion concerns or issues raised within APTA or in the transit industry;
  • Adjust the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan and Work Program based on the evaluation of outcomes and concerns raised;
  • Provide an annual status report on the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan and work program to the APTA Board of Directors at its Annual Meeting.


Goal #1: Advocate for the importance of diversity and inclusion as a culture that is essential for the Association and industry to successfully achieve the transportation mission and goals that are relevant to our industry, organizations and communities today  

  1. ​Develop and annually update a multi-year Work Program including activity, timeline, budget, measures of success towards advancing a positive diversity and inclusion culture at APTA and within the industry
  2. Engage and assess membership to understand how diverse and inclusive the membership feels about the Association and its members, activities, advocacy, policies, etc.
  3.  Monitor issues and trends in diversity and inclusion and recommend actions to the APTA Board of Directors to ensure the Association is proactive in addressing them. 

Goal #2: Create an environment of Inclusion that is open and inviting to all members of APTA, at all levels of their organizations

  1. Incorporate diversity and inclusion topics into conference sessions, training workshops, webinars, and eLearning resources for members and staff.
  2. Annually conduct an orientation for new Board of Director members and APTA committee chairs on APTA’s Diversity and Inclusion Policy, Strategic Plan and Work Program.
  3. Serve as the industry’s clearinghouse for diversity and inclusion by providing member access to key strategies, best practices, expert industry contacts, lessons learned and other resources through APTA’s online resources on Workforce Development.
  4. Maintain a resource database of minority, women, and LGBT general managers, presidents/CEOs, assistant general managers and vice presidents as well as those with disabilities, for use in identifying potential candidates for career opportunities within the industry and for leadership opportunities within APTA.
  5. Ensure that APTA career development and training programs for employees at all levels of members’ organizations, including Leadership APTA, the Mid-level Managers program, the Emerging Leaders Program and Frontline Employee training, are available to persons with diverse backgrounds and capabilities.
  6. Through the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) Scholarship Program, encourage professionals of all ages and diverse backgrounds and capabilities to choose careers in public transportation.
  7. Continue to include advancement of Diversity and Inclusion as a qualitative measure for scoring nominees for the Public Transportation System Outstanding Achievement Awards.
  8. 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.)
  9. Provide and report to the APTA Board of Directors an annual status report on APTA’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan and Work Program, including any recommendations on how to improve diversity and inclusion policies and programs throughout the organization.

Goal #3. Encourage diversity and inclusion within APTA’s community to foster a culture of curiosity, relevance, creativeness, and innovation in our business practices, products and services, approach to advocacy, and engagement of our communities that respect different perspectives and is relevant to our workforce and the diverse communities we serve.

  1. Publish APTA’s Diversity and Inclusion Policy in APTA’s corporate documents to reinforce its commitment.
  2. Post the annual report of the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan and Work Program on the APTA website and publish its availability in Passenger Transport.
  3. Showcase achievements of LGBT, minority and women leaders as well as leaders with disabilities and other individuals representing diversity in Passenger Transport and PT Express, focusing on diversity and inclusion as a key to their success.
  4.  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.
  5. Actively encourage persons with disabilities, minority, women, LGBT professionals, and representatives of other segments of APTA’s diverse membership, to participate in the Association and share their unique perspectives by requesting speaker opportunities through the “Call for Papers” process, and joining APTA committees.
  6. In the annual Leadership APTA class, include members with diverse backgrounds and capabilities which shall include projects that shall focus on Diversity and Inclusion to the extent possible with an additional desired outcome that reflects the diverse community.
  7. Identify opportunities through APTA’s partnerships with WTS, COMTO, Easter Seals and others to enhance the development of minority, women, veteran, LGBT professionals, professionals with disabilities and small business owners for future leadership opportunities within APTA and the industry.
  8. Identify opportunities through APTA’s partnership with the disability community to increase involvement of persons with disabilities in APTA's programs and activities.
  9. Identify opportunities for minorities, women, and LGBT professionals as well as professionals with disabilities 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 establishing a culture of diversity and inclusion, including promoting and recommending diversity and inclusion policies for APTA staff and programs.

  1. Ensure that all nominees for office on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors articulate and demonstrate his/her commitment to diversity and inclusion during the nomination process and throughout their term.
  2. Ensure that the APTA Chair’s appointees to the APTA Nominating Committee reflect the diverse backgrounds of the APTA membership.
  3. Incorporate Diversity and Inclusion training in the curricula of Leadership APTA, mid-level managers and emerging leaders, and other training programs that may be offered by APTA for the development of industry leaders.
  4. Ensure APTA’s workforce reflects an equal or greater percentage of minorities and women than the workforce data reported in the Washington, D.C. region’s latest census data.
  5. Ensure that APTA’s annual contracting and procurement goals align with and promote diversity and inclusion
  6. Implementation of the Council’s Work Program is considered by the Executive Committee in its review of the APTA President’s annual performance review.
  7. APTA satisfies diversity requirements associated with Federal grants.
  8. APTA staff conducts an annual review of internal procurement processes relative to DBE and revises internal procedures as needed.

Goal #5: To increase business opportunities in the transit industry for minority-, women-, LGBT- and veteran-owned businesses, including small and DBE firms and firms owned by people with disabilities.

  1. Encourage participation of minority-, women-, LGBT-, and veteran-owned businesses, including small and DBE firms and firms owned by people with disabilities, at APTA Expos, including showcasing their products and services, and providing services in support of Expo events.
  2. Actively reach out to and encourage minority-, women-, LGBT-, and veteran-owned businesses, including small and DBE firms, and firms owned by people with disabilities, to join APTA as an active member.
  3. Identify APTA member minority-, women-, LGBT- and veteran-owned businesses, including small and DBE firms and firms owned by people with disabilities, in APTA’s Online Buyers Guide.
  4. Facilitate growth through successful contracting with other APTA members by providing networking opportunities for minority-, women-, LGBT-, and veteran-owned businesses, including small and DBE firms and firms owned by people with disabilities, through activities such as BMBG networking breakfasts and other potential activities in collaboration with COMTO and WTS.​
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