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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
14 December 2023

A Just Transition for Jobs and Skills in European Urban Mobility

  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Europe-wide
Resource type
  • Case study
Lady at work

First published 14 December 2023


Urban mobility is changing rapidly, with new services, technologies and infrastructure transforming passenger and freight transport, including shared micro-mobility (e.g. short-term rental of e-scooters and e-bikes), ride-sharing, car-sharing, electric and highly-automated vehicles, as well as cargo-bike delivery and micro-lockers. As the European Green Deal is implemented, this list will continue to grow.

These services are critical to help decongest cities, while ensuring that urban mobility becomes cleaner and more resilient. While many of these services are not new, they are increasingly supported and enhanced by digitalisation, data analysis and the use of electric vehicles.

The launch of the EU Climate-neutral and Smart Cities Mission in 2021 sets a target of having at least 100 European cities being climate neutral by 2030. Urban mobility must change substantively, to become cleaner and more resilient as part of such transitions. But for this change to be socially and politically viable, there is broadening recognition that a Just Transition must be ensured – where affordability, safety, and inclusivity are placed at the heart of the implementation of new technologies and services. As a result, there are growing calls from many mobility networks (for example in Polis’ Just Transition agenda for urban mobility) to recognise and better understand the current imbalances and unfairness in the urban mobility system. This requires the establishment of inclusive governance approaches and also the mapping and improved understanding of specific needs and sensitivities of different stakeholders. Yet, while a Just Transition for transport users has been the subject of broad debate, a Just Transition for the workforce – where the concept actually began – has received less attention.

At the European level, there is growing focus on this, with the Just Transition Mechanism addressing the social and economic effects of the transition, focusing on the regions, industries and workers who will face the greatest challenges. It does this by providing support for re-skilling opportunities, investing in the creation of new firms, SMEs and start-ups and providing affordable loans to local public authorities.

Nonetheless, many areas of urban mobility, including public transport authorities, operators, logistics organisations and others are facing major challenges in recruiting new and appropriately skilled workers. This is due to a range of factors, including:

  • Demographic change: the impacts of an ageing workforce and inability to recruit younger workers.
  • Working conditions and perceptions of the sector: shift patterns and salary structures, as well as the proliferation of platform working and impacts on employment benefits and working conditions, are leading to rapid staff turnover and are deterring potential new recruits from entering the workforce altogether.
  • The proliferation of new technologies: developments in AI and automation, which are shifting the skills required and jobs available, with many, particularly public sector organisations, unable to secure these skills.
  • Lack of diversity: Challenges recruiting and retaining women (in particular) is leading to, not just a lack of personnel, but also creating detrimental cultures within organisations, as well as inhibiting the development of more inclusive urban mobility services and urban infrastructure.

In 2021, figures from the European Commission (Eurostat) show that the EU transport sector employed 6.2 million people aged 15-64 years old (in the land, water and air transport sectors). This represents 3.1% of total employment within the EU, with many more employees working in related areas, such as infrastructure construction and maintenance, vehicle manufacture, tourism and travel.

The urban mobility sector is a major employer within the broader transport sector. Bus and truck drivers account for 35% of the sector’s 6.2 million employees (according to Eurostat), whereas, according to information provided by the European Commission, the railway sector (including operators and infrastructure) accounts for over 1 million direct employees and 1.2 million employees working in related areas within the EU. Meanwhile, it is estimated by ALICE’s (the alliance for European Logistics) 2022 Research & Innovation Roadmap that urban freight represents 2.5% of the workforce in urban areas.

However, automation, digitalisation, changes to working conditions, and demographic changes are, according to research by European Transport Federation (ETF) in 2022, projected to result in changes to the jobs and skills required for the transport sector, including the disappearance of some jobs and the emergence of others, as well as to geographical shifts in the location of these jobs. As a result, there are growing calls (from transport workers unions and others) (for example by the International Transport Workers’ Federation) to place the transport workforce at the centre of Europe’s policy agenda for a Just Transition, by ensuring appropriate reskilling, reorientation and relocation, where needed, while reinforcing the sector’s capacity to attract new talent in the future.

The year 2023 is the ‘European Year of Skills’, which comes at a time when the issue of skills in the urban mobility sector has never been more critical. This year’s Urban Mobility Days conference, organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility & Transport (DG MOVE) and the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU, included a plenary session bringing together leading voices from the urban mobility sector to discuss “Just Transition and Skills in Urban Mobility,”. Concerns and challenges in this area were voiced by representatives of governments, innovators in urban mobility, the cycling industry and the workers’ federation. Their main points of agreement were a strong emphasis on the importance of horizonal trans-institutional efforts to tackle the skills shortages resulting from the digital and green transition, as well taking into account the gender balance. It was also pointed out that existing skillsets needed to be updated in order to adapt employees to a technically-enhanced future.

Taking into consideration the plenary session at Urban Mobility Days, as well as new research and the outcome of relevant EU-funded projects, this case study explores some of the key developments and challenges for ensuring a Just Transition for jobs and skills in urban mobility.

Young people working in logistics
In action - What is happening?

Demographic changes

Demographic change is posing a significant threat to the availability of personnel and skills. According to figures provided by the European Commission, in the EU’s overall population, the share of 15-29-year-olds is declining, e.g. from 18.1% in 2011 to 16.3% in 2021. This trend is expected to continue and become even more pronounced in rural regions. By 2050, the share of people over 65 in the EU’s population will be around 30%, compared to around 20% today.

These changes present a particular challenge for public transport and urban logistics, as there are currently around 3 million people employed as drivers (for coaches, trucks, taxis, buses, metros and trains) in Europe today. However, in 2019, the average age of a driver was 51.5 years, with around one quarter of drivers older than 55 years old. In 2022, according to research from the International Roads Union (IRU), there were 425,000 unfilled truck driver jobs across Europe, as demand for professional drivers has been increasing. The inability to recruit is due, at least in part, to the sector’s current lack of appeal to the younger generation and also as it has not adequately addressed gender diversity. For example, less than 3% of truck drivers are women, and drivers under 25 years old remain a small minority (6-7%).

As the IRU explained in a 2023 webinar, one of the obstacles to young people becoming a driver is the high cost of driving licences, which is a critical barrier to entry into the sector. For example, in France, a truck licence costs €5,300, more than three times the average minimum monthly salary.

Trade unions, such as ETF, have warned that the current demographic trends amongst drivers employed in the sector will intensify over time (2022 research by ETF). This will have a severe impact on freight and bus and coach services in particular, with demand for road freight volume forecasted to increase by 11% in Europe by 2030.

Working conditions

Other barriers to employment in the transport sector are the working conditions, and the potential negative perceptions of the working conditions, which have pushed many to leave the sector and deterred others from entering (see the Mobility and Transport page on working conditions).

This was confirmed at the Youth Policy Dialogue on Jobs in Transport, hosted by Commissioner Vălean as part of the 2022 European Year of Youth, where young transport professionals from all over Europe highlighted that declining working conditions and low wages were deterring young people from joining the sector.

The pandemic aggravated this situation. According to research by ETF, drivers who have changed sectors during the pandemic are not expected to return to the bus and coach sector. For example, in the Netherlands, the number of employees in the bus sector dropped from 5,592 in 2019 to 3,859 in 2020, which was due to drivers leaving the bus and coach sector, rather than layoffs.

“Driver shortage is the main concern for workers, a concern shared by employers. It is having a detrimental impact on working conditions, leading to an increasing stressful and unsafe work environment,” says Livia Spera, Secretary General of the ETF.

This has been corroborated by the ETF’s 2021 survey of passenger and freight drivers, which revealed fatigue in professional drivers is the norm on European roads and directly linked to poor working conditions. The survey identified that 57% of bus and coach drivers, and 52% of truck drivers, reported wanting to pull over and take a break when feeling tired but being unable to.

Violence against workers, and fears of a lack of safety, have also been highlighted as deterrents for entering the sector, particularly for women.

“Violent incidents, which increased during Covid-19, have continued to be a major problem. This turns people away from the sector and contributes to the worker shortage. So, you have a vicious circle, increased work shortage, greater pressure and stress, more exits from the sector,” says Spera.

This has been highlighted by several studies, including the Sum4all Toolkit for Change, and addressing this has become a key action point for many public transport operators in Bulgaria, Germany, Romania and elsewhere, as they seek to combat workplace violence and attract and retain workers, particularly on the frontline of their services (see the WISE II report).

The impacts of digital labour platforms [1] that are used to employ workers have also raised significant concerns for employee security, welfare and safety. The last decade has seen a rapid growth in ride-hailing and on-demand delivery (including food), with around 10% of the EU population already having engaged in digital labour platforms (according to European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE)). In Paris, for example, the number of full-time couriers leapt by over 40% between 2016 and 2021. Across the EU, the number of people employed by digital labour platforms is expected to increase significantly  to 43 million people by 2025 (from 28 million in 2021) (according to the European Commission). However, the employment status of such workers has prompted concerns for their welfare (including being incorrectly classified as self-employed), their job security and the employment benefits that they are, or are not, able to access.

A recent report from the European Institute for Gender Equality reveals that such concerns have distinctly gender-specific impacts. For example, commonly deployed algorithms that penalise workers for periods of “low productivity”, while rewarding work conducted during peak hours, have the potential to hit hardest those looking after children alongside their gig work.

Digital labour platforms are also raising critical questions for road safety. Research from University College London revealed that over 80% of riders surveyed did not stop at red lights, encouraged by renumeration frameworks that encourage faster driving. Furthermore, according to research from Gustave Eiffel University (which hosts an E-commerce Mobilities Observatory, a repository of information and research on the changing face of urban freight), 40% of drivers are working six days a week, with many riding for more than 8 hours a day, thus leading to high levels of fatigue while riding.

The impact of automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the need for data and digital skills

Another current and future concern for employment in the mobility sector is the proliferation of automation and AI technology. There remain many unknowns around the speed and scale of change that increased automation and AI will have, however, these already appear to be having substantial impacts.

According to statistics by UITP, nearly a quarter of the world’s metro systems have at least one fully automated line in operation. Urban freight too is making increased use of robotics technology, which has evolved significantly over the last decade, enabling the use of autonomous vehicles, drones, and robotic arms in warehouses and distribution centres (see the 2023 article on automation).

However, automation and digitalisation are projected to provide a range of new employment opportunities across the urban mobility sector and are not necessarily an immediate and direct threat to many jobs; yet, they are already dramatically changing the skills required by employees across the sector.

“This is not the future, this is today, and the need for data, digital and programming skills will become the standard,” says Josep Maria from Certh (who leads the data analysis and modelling laboratory supporting the Thessaloniki Smart Mobility Living Lab) during a POLIS meeting on Human Resources for traffic management.

In particular, developments in automation and AI are affecting public transport, where there is a growing use of Information Communication Technology (ICT). Indeed, as Shift2Rail reports [2], in general, employment levels in the railway sector will change as a result of continuous innovation and re-engineering of processes.  There are projected to be impacts on jobs connected to manufacturing the trains, and to the operation of software systems and the trains themselves.

“Previously, jobs such as road traffic management were about simply ensuring the flow of private combustion engines vehicles, today it is a far more complex task, with a range of competing transit services, emissions reduction targets and new demands from users,” echoes Vincent Lau (Manager of Digitisation, Mobility & Public Space at the City of Amsterdam) at the POLIS meeting on Human Resources for traffic management.

Worker rail track


Research from INNOPATHS (a project exploring different forward-looking scenarios leading to a completely decarbonised Europe by 2050) found that regardless of the pathway, portions of the workforce would need new skills.

However, the digital skills of much of the existing workforce, particularly local government officials and transport operators, are not sufficient for the upcoming transition. As a recent POLIS survey of public sector organisations and micromobility stakeholders revealed, there is a capacity gap between the public and private sector that poses problems for data-driven and evidence-based decision-making. This is presenting clear challenges for the future of gender diversity in the sector, as women are heavily underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

For example, as documented in Sum4All Toolkit for Change, in Spain a very low number of female students opt for STEM subjects at the tertiary level, and despite a growing number of students enrolling in vocational training, there is still a heavy  gender imbalance. In the academic year 2019/20, women made up just 29.8% of students, with this figure dropping substantially at intermediate and higher educational, as well as in vocational training.

Comillas University’s report "STEM Education in Spain, and women's participation. Vocational Training, an opportunity for the future" revealed the persistence of Spain’s STEM gender division. This is creating substantial challenges for employers facing labour shortages, such as Madrid’s transport operator EMT, especially in the light of its intention to develop its digital payment platforms and accelerate its electrification strategy.

Gender diversity and the gendered nature of change

Gender equality is a recurrent theme across the many challenges facing urban mobility. However, it is also a specific challenge in employment in the urban mobility sector. In Europe, women represent around 22% of the transport workforce and only a fragment of its leadership, both in the private and public sectors. Many sectors of urban mobility (such as the bus and coach sector) have seen a small increase in the number of women employed (as shown by the Go-Ahead Group), however, according to the Sum4All Toolkit for Change, the improvement remains slow.

Furthermore, changes in functions have been shown to disproportionately harm female workers, who are overrepresented in roles which are being eliminated by the advent of automation, such as ticket selling.

The sector’s difficulties in improving its gender balance and in addressing the gendered impacts of changing job functions poses significant challenges for its capacity to address the skills and workforce shortages it faces. Indeed, improving gender diversity is not simply recognised as critical for empowering women and bridging the global economic and political gender gap, it has been widely recognised as essential for supporting the development of the sector, and also its ability to achieve its climate targets.

International research by Catalyst, and more recently by McKinsey, found that diverse companies at senior management level had better financial performance. Diversity can also have a positive impact on business performance in a multitude of ways, from greater innovation and skill sharing to increased productivity and higher revenues, while also changing customer perceptions and the public image of transport services, which is critical for development of many modes, particularly public transport.

However, the gender balance in the urban mobility workforce has not changed significantly in the last decade, and there is growing international research (as shown by the Sum4All Toolkit for Change) that reveals a multitude of factors that deter women from entering the sector and hinder their career potential, including gender-based violence, shift patterns, bias in education, and others.

This concern is rapidly entering mainstream debates, and the lack of diversity and its impacts was a key discussion point at this year’s Urban Mobility Days panel, where the clear link between a Just Transition for the workforce and for users was drawn.

“It is critical to talk about diversity and put these promises into action – such as initiatives like Women in Cycling. Furthermore, when we talk about diversity in the sector, we also need to understand the effect this has on the services we provide, and how they can cater to all users” said Kevin Mayne, the CEO of Cycling Industries Europe.

“Beginning with our Women in Leadership approach, we have worked alongside our members to bring about a better balance, with the knowledge that a gender-balanced sector leads to better results for everyone,” says UITP.

Women driving bus
Results – What is being done to address these challenges?

Addressing the complex nature of these challenges demands a cross-sector, multi-level approach, that brings together employers, trade unions, universities and which is supported by relevant national and European level governance structures. There have been a range of multi-level, innovative and collaborative approaches that are aiming to help ensure a just transition for Europe’s urban mobility workforce, where funding, capacity building and policies have been put in place to support education, re-skilling, improved working conditions, while placing the voices of workers at the core of action.

These responses have important takeaways for many organisations (such as local authorities, transport authorities, transport operators, mobility representative bodies and universities) who are seeking to reinforce their current, and future, workforce in a just and fair way.

The European Union’s policy response

The European Commission is coordinating cross sector efforts to support public authorities, operators and others in reskilling and upskilling. For many employers in urban mobility, which are often small scale organisations (in Europe, 85% of short distance truck companies have less than five employees), such support is critical.

The European Commission has already confirmed that the European Pillar of Social Rights is the European rulebook to make to make sure that the green and digital transitions are socially fair and just in its Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy (SSMS). As announced in the strategy, the European Commission issued a Recommendation on means to address the impact of automation and digitalisation on the transport workforce in 2023. With the Recommendation, the Commission raises awareness of these changes in the transport sector and invites relevant stakeholders, such as employers’ and workers’ organisations and national authorities, to consider and promote different means to ensure a just transition for transport workers, namely by:

  • raising awareness of the impact of automation and digitalisation to prepare for a future involving both in a fair and just way;
  • assessing skills needs and promoting training to ensure a good match between skills demand and supply in an automated and digitalised work environment;
  • improving working conditions, and recognising the important role of social dialogue in managing change and fostering workplace innovation;
  • managing change in a proactive and participatory manner; and
  • making use of relevant funding opportunities to manage the transition, ensuring inclusiveness and accessibility for workers in all their diversity, in particular those at higher risk of exclusion.

Some specific initiatives are:

  • The Ambassador for Diversity in Transport network brings together individuals from across different modes of transport to promote efforts to foster diversity, and to support those seeking to enter the sector. The collaborative nature of this initiative can provide key learnings for others, by bringing together a variety of transport stakeholders, but also academia, who have the ability to communicate with a wider audience. They leverage different capabilities and contact networks to highlight important challenges and find tangible and transferable solutions benefitting transport workers and transport users.
  • The Harnessing Talent Platform offers capacity building for local authorities. The platform is a knowledge-building and experience-exchange forum, which seeks to support regions in addressing the consequences of demographic change and in mitigating the challenges associated with the decline of tertiary (highest level of) educated populations across the EU.  The platform ensures that impacted regions receive the guidance, information and knowledge they need to elaborate, consolidate, develop and implement tailored and comprehensive strategies to train, attract and retain talent. While this platform is still in its infancy, their working group approach shows the importance of bringing together academic, local authority, business and civil society organisations.
  • In order to address the challenges posed by digital labour platforms, the proposed EU Directive on improving working conditions in platform work seeks to ensure that people working through digital labour platforms are granted the legal employment status that corresponds to their actual work arrangements. It provides a list of control criteria to determine whether the platform is an “employer”.
  • For gender diversity in particular, the Women in Transport - EU Platform for change was launched on 27 November 2017. This platform aims to strengthen women's employment and ensure equal opportunities for women and men in the transport sector, thanks to the actions of the Platform’s members. It serves as a forum to discuss and exchange good practices. The necessity for participating organisations to develop and substantiate clear and measurable actions through this platform demonstrates the importance of working with clear and achievable targets, which, particularly for smaller and medium-sized organisations, where resources and capacities are limited, encourages achievable outcomes.

Education and training providers

Universities and other higher education providers also have a substantial role to play in ensuring new recruits in the urban mobility sector have adequate skills, while also supporting the retraining of existing employees. With institutions across Europe providing courses in Urban Mobility, Sustainable Urban Mobility Transitions, and similar programmes, this is an opportunity to equip the next generation of workers with effective and necessary skills.

For example, a partnership between Comillas University, EMT Madrid, and electricity company Iberdrola created a Chair for the Promotion of Women in STEM Vocations in Training Professional for Sustainable Mobility. The initiative has examined the gender balance in Spain’s higher education and vocational training to understand why women and girls are not entering STEM fields or continuing to higher education, while also promoting the field and related professions in mobility to students. Their collaboration has successfully mobilised interest from young people, teachers, and education counsellors. A total of 709 people, of which half were women, attended the Chair's activities carried out in the 2020–2021 and 2021–2022 academic years.

This approach highlights the effectiveness of such cross-sector collaboration, but also demonstrates the necessity for establishing a clear programme of activities and initiatives, which directly address the existing challenges. EMT Madrid’s partnership included a wide range of actions, such as a hackathon workshop "Transforming the world: Sustainable Cities" in various centres, dedicated coaching sessions, STEM workshops with Siemens Mobility, and Guidance Days

Public and private sector employer response (cities, operators, service providers, manufacturers etc)

Employers must also rise to the challenge and ensure that they understand the reasons why people are leaving the sector, and what skills may be required for them to stay. There are various actions that are aiming to address such issues, such as:

  • Go-Ahead’s strategy of “The Next Billion Journeys” highlights employee engagement and seeks to enable leadership teams to have access to data and resources that help them understand how people experience work in a systematic way in order to create an improved sense of belonging. The strategy helps the company to re-evaluate the way in which it undertakes colleague surveys, while reinforcing the anonymity and confidentiality of respondents. This included the redesign of an existing employee survey to enable the results to be analysed from different angles, such as comparing locations and drilling down by different levels of management. These seek to give the company’s leadership more insight and ownership of employee satisfaction, and to collect data more frequently than once a year.
  • The delivery company, UPS, has launched both a Women’s Leadership Development programme and an employee-led Business Resource Group, which now has 185 chapters in more than 30 countries. Employees can connect through workshops, mentorship and networking, and learn of opportunities outside of their regular work teams. These initiatives serve as an extension of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Strategy, and reflect UPS’s commitment to employee development and engagement.
  • Alta is an on-line mentoring platform launched in 2019 to tackle the underrepresentation of women within the aviation and aerospace industry. It connects female mentors and mentees from across the industry, and is designed to attract more women to the industry and to retain those women already present, with a focus on supported career development.

Each of these case studies demonstrates the necessity for evidence-based actions, and the importance of first gathering data on workplace experiences in a systematic manner, in order to construct positive actions that target the challenges identified.

Implementing more flexible and responsive working patterns can then be achieved in a far more targeted way, such as:

  • Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), a state agency in Ireland dealing with road and public transport infrastructure, implemented a hybrid working arrangement, (as shown in the Sum4All Toolkit for Change) which is designed to support a more flexible work–life balance, while allowing managers to maintain oversight of performance and retain the in-person contact necessary for a cohesive workplace. This is offered alongside possible part-time or workshare options. TII now has a clear request and implementation procedure for flexible working, which it can showcase in its job offer and which has been shown to encourage female candidates. This has enabled employees with a variety of flexible working needs to work at TII, while the management are able to retain oversight.
  • Similarly, SBB (the Swiss Federal Rail operator) has implemented a flexible working arrangement, which can be taken advantage of on a daily, weekly, or annual basis. This gives employees the ability to trial reduced working hours before committing to this on a long-term basis. Employees can reduce working hours by up to 20% for a period of three months, so long as this does not fall short of 50% of their hours in total. During this time, they can test whether this flexible working option is suitable for them and return to their original hours without any problem if it is not.

These two approaches reveal that discussing and agreeing flexible options from the outset with new employees can alleviate the psychological burden and practical challenges of childcare and provide a clear channel of communication, which will reduce the prospect of complications and struggles further down the line. Moreover, establishing avenues for workers to re-enter the sector (e.g. after maternity leave) by guaranteeing their jobs during this period of absence is critical.

Trade unions and social partners

Trade unions are also working with employees and employers. For example, the ETF has developed a toolkit to anticipate and monitor the impact of automation and digitalisation on transport operation in all modes and at all levels of the labour market. They provide recommendations and support for workers to deal with challenges, by providing them with legal tools through their unions, and political processes at the national and European level.

“The current worker shortage is putting even more pressure on the workforce. In a time when services should be expanding, they are being cut due to the lack of staff. This message, and the reasons behind it, need to be communicated to employers and policymakers,” says  Livia Spera, ETF’s Secretary General, speaking at Urban Mobility Days 2023.

This involves working closely with other sectoral dialogue committees for a comprehensive response. In 2014, social partners UITP and ETF signed joint recommendations to promote women’s employment in the urban public transport sector and set the ambitious target to increase the share of women employed from the average value of 17.5% in 2011 to at least 25% by 2020 and to 40% in 2035. Subsequently, both organisations have renewed their commitments, with a range of initiatives.

Woman working on car
Challenges, opportunities and transferability

Learnings - from Research, Innovation and Projects

Improved data on the current challenges and potential future employment trajectories are important for effective recruitment and reskilling. European projects, such as WeTransform, are also proving essential arenas for bringing together academic experts, unions and employers to provide a clear picture of the situation on the ground, and to foster clear and comprehensive exchange between stakeholders.

At the same time, toolkits such as SuM4All’s, provide an insight into the challenges and opportunities women face when working in the transport sector. Based upon the evidence collected, this action-based toolkit, which was produced from the findings of the project, identifies five main areas (or entry points) where actions and measures could provide the most impact in improving the gender balance in the urban mobility sector, and provides tools and case studies to inspire and bring about change.

Other organisations such as The European Observatory for Gender Smart Transport provide a useful guide on how to identify and reach out to potential mentors.

Key takeaways from initiatives, policies and programmes discussed across the case study

  1. Expand outreach to attract candidates outside of using the traditional channels: Disseminate job advertisements through non-traditional channels (social media, diversity champion groups etc) in order to expand the reach of job vacancies, while encouraging a more diverse pool of applicants.
  2. Partner with others: Establish connections and partnerships with universities, colleges and schools can demonstrate the breadth of opportunities within the urban mobility sector. This can include workshops, site visits, and work experience opportunities.
  3. Make training affordable: Subsidise or pay the cost of training, and related examinations, can provide a strong encouragement for young people and women to take up professional roles, such as engineers, drivers and crew members.
  4. Ensure data is accurate and comprehensive: Employee surveys are regularly deployed by organisations to understand employees’ experience in the workplace. However, more comprehensive, regular, audits are needed to gain a better insight into gendered experiences.
  5. Facilitate re-entry: Establish avenues for those who have left the sector to re-enter and re-train (e.g. women returning from maternity leave).
  6. Create a specified role for overseeing diversity initiatives: This will help to ensure that initiatives are coordinated, targeted, and linked to an organisation’s wider goals and ambitions.
  7. Create and reinforce internal support forums and networks: Many organisations have internal networks that support women and minority groups. However, too often these work in siloes. Enabling networks to work together to share experience, identify common goals and – importantly where these may diverge – to establish cohesive movements toward inclusive workplaces.
In depth:
  2. Digital automation and the future of work- EPRS_STU(2021)656311_EN.pdf (
  3. ETF: Automation and Digitalisation Toolkit,
  4. ETF, Digitalisation and Automation – Employability in the rail sector,
  5. ETF, Digital transformation and social dialogue in urban public transport,
  6. European Commission, Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, Study on the social dimension of the transition to automation and digitalisation in transport, focusing on the labour force – Final report, Publications Office, 2021,,
  7. Spanish law from 2012 on labour force mandatory training,
  8. Policy Brief: Co-creating accessible futures through New Mobility Services,
  9. Statistics-Brief-Metro-automation_final_web03.pdf (
  10. Review of Maritime Transport 2018 (
  11. AIT Bericht (
  12. D3.2: Analysis of workforce barriers, needs, skills, and challenges (
  14. Global driver shortages: 2022 year in review | IRU | World Road Transport Organisation


[1] Digital platforms that connect freelancers with customers to provide short-term services or enable asset-sharing.

[2] The European rail initiative that supports focused research and innovation, and the development of market-driven solutions, by accelerating the integration of new and advanced technologies into innovative rail product solutions.


Photo Credits: ©  wavebreakmedia, Gorodenkoff, Viewfoto studio, Drazen Zigic, BigPixel Photo - no permission to re-use image(s) without separate licence from Shutterstock.