March '24 Newsletter

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March  2024
Women's History Month


Trailblazer Tuesday Webinar Series

In honor of Women’s History Month, MTI hosted a series of virtual fireside chats with a diverse panel of women transportation leaders at the apex of success in academia, public and private industries, and the nonprofit sector. We explored compelling personal narratives and leadership journeys and gained valuable insights into how these leaders balance assertiveness with emotional intelligence, overcoming stereotypes and dispelling misconceptions about perceived weakness. Through a series of fireside chats, attendees discovered invaluable insights as we dive into the profound impact of reshaping perspectives and championing women in the transportation industry and beyond.

Veronica Vanterpool
Acting Administrator
Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

Watch the Recording


Tilly Chang
Executive Director
San Francisco County Transportation Authority

Watch the Recording


Jannet Walker-Ford
Senior Vice President & Principal Director - National Transit & Rail Business Line Leader

Watch the Recording


Jennifer Homendy
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)

Watch the Recording

Inclusion in Motion: Women's Voices in Commuter Transportation
Jane Duong Davaransky - Marketo Banner.png
Authentic allyship is about action. It's about pulling others up as you climb, breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings. Joining the transportation leadership table as an Asian-American woman left Jane Duong Davaransky feeling like an industry outsider, but true allies at the top—ones who believed in and empowered her potential—helped her find her space at the table.

As current Student Association president for MTI’s Master’s in Transportation Management (MSTM) program—as well as transit operations manager and finance expert for a tech company—Jane uses her expertise and empathy to inspire and uplift those around her, especially others who have historically been left behind in transportation conversations.

After a car accident inspired her to pursue other commuting options, Jane became a transit advocate and established the Active Commuting Program for the SLAC Stanford Lab. This project, which discouraged solo driving, earned the 2018 Stanford University Employee Sustainability Award. She expects to graduate from the MSTM program this June and plans to extend her influence to the future of commuter transportation in California and beyond.
Read about her journey and how she supports other women in transportation in "Inspired to Connect the World: Careers in Transportation."

New Research
Understanding Workforce Diversity in the Transit Industry: Establishing a Baseline of Diversity Demographics
Understanding Workforce Diversity in the Transit Industry: Establishing a Baseline of Diversity Demographics

Public transit agencies function best when the diversity of their workforce represents the communities they serve, yet previous research shows an underrepresentation of women and racial and ethnic minorities in leadership roles, and an overconcentration of workers of color in operational roles. Understanding Workforce Diversity in the Transit Industry: Establishing a Baseline of Diversity Demographics provides updated statistics on the status of the racial/ethnic and gender diversity of the transit agency workforce in the U.S. from 2018 – 2022 and identifies potential barriers and promising practices for diversifying this workforce.

The study concludes that the transit workforce is not representative of the U.S. labor force in terms of either sex or race/ethnicity. Key findings include:

  • The majority of the transit workforce is male (71%).
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of the workers in the data are non-White, with Black workers making up the largest group of workers (40%), even though they are only 12% of the U.S. labor force.
  • Hispanic workers are underrepresented relative to their percentage in both the U.S. labor force and relative to their transit use.
  • White employees are overrepresented in leadership positions, and both White and Asian employees are overrepresented in the more-highly paid professional and skill-craft occupations.

Read the Report

Visiting Scholar Spotlight
MTI recently had the honor of hosting Visiting Scholar Jackson Sekasi from the Technical University of Denmark. His work focuses on transport infrastructure construction estimating and management, especially on improving the performance and construction delivery of transportation megaprojects. Jackson came to the Bay to engage with and interview experts in the transportation industry from diverse backgrounds, including engineers, project managers, society leaders, and policy influencers—especially those involved in California High-Speed Rail for his project, “ Control and Accountability in Mega Projects (CAMP).”

This project focuses on capturing a picture of the unprecedented levels of major transport infrastructure development through the examination of three major railway project cases: 1) California High-Speed Rail, 2) the Femern Bælt fixed link in Europe, and 3) the Tanzania standard gauge railway project in Africa with an aim to investigate how governance mechanisms and contracting processes influence project performance and to analyze how cost and schedule development and forecasting affects the performance of these projects.

Jackson grew up in Uganda, where he tragically lost a sibling due to poor transportation infrastructure, which shaped his academic and professional aspirations from a tender age. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) from Ndejje University in Kampala, a Master of Project Planning and Management from Uganda Management Institute, and a Master's in Railway Civil Infrastructure Engineering from the African Center of Excellence in Ethiopia. Jackson hopes his research can shed light on the challenges of mega projects in transportation infrastructure projects like the California High-Speed Rail and propose solutions that can improve their performance and safety to benefit all communities.

MTI Annual Essay Contest
MTI is thrilled to announce the winners of its 
second annual Essay Contest!
For the theme #VisionZero2030, students grades 6-12 nationwide proposed and explored a solution to achieve the commitment to eradicating traffic-related fatalities and injuries by 2030. Congratulations to Christine and April on this achievement!
Christine Jung
Group 1 Winner (Grades 6-9)
Christine Jung
Grade 7, Campbell School of Innovation (Campbell, CA)

Distracted Driving: Its Impact on Society and Solutions


Read Christine's Essay



April Beyersdorf

Group 2 Winner (Grades 10-12)
April Beyersdorf
Grade 12, Saint Francis High School (Mountain View, CA)

Infrastructure That Saves Lives: How to Make El Camino Real Safe For Everyone


Read April's Essay

Summer Transportation Institute
We are now accepting applications to the Summer Transportation Institute. Open to Bay Area high school students who have completed Algebra 1 and (Freshman) Science 1.

MTI's 2024 MSTI will be held weekdays, July 8-26, 2024*, M-F 9am-3pm** at San José State University. While engaging in stimulating hands-on STEM activities and venturing on exciting local field trips, students will learn about transportation innovation and earn 3 transferable college credits in Environmental Studies from San José State University. This program is completely free and open to high school students.

For more information about MSTI, please contact Alverina Weinardy.

*Tentative program dates
**On specific occasions and with notice students may be required to arrive earlier or may be released later due to field trip travel constraints.

Learn more about the program.




Contact Us

SJSU Research Foundation   210 N. 4th Street, 4th Floor, San Jose, CA 95112    Phone: 408-924-7560   Email: