Modernization of Urban Public Transport: What Can We Learn from Other Industries About Insertion into the Labor Market and Job Retraining?

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - urban, organisation - workforce planning


Job Retraining, urban public transport, labor transformation


Over the past decades, many urban public transport modernization programs have been implemented in numerous cities in developing countries. One of the programs’ main challenges has been to manage social aspects of a workforce that is characterized by high informality and vulnerability. Despite the importance of the challenge, there is little documented knowledge about these labor transformation processes; the literature has focused mainly on technical, institutional, organizational, and regulatory changes. This research contributes to closing the knowledge gap on this key aspect of the modernization of urban public transport. International experiences of labor transformation, within the urban public transport sector as well as in other sectors of activity, were analyzed. By identifying successful policies, lessons learned, and best practices transferable to urban public transport programs, one can provide decision makers with better tools to inform and improve the design and implementation of labor insertion and training components. These tools can reduce both the costs and social risks of projects. The results of this work suggest adoption of an integral approach that considers both active and passive labor market policies. Programs should include training for new skills, both to reinsert workers in the new modernized system and to send workers to available jobs in other sectors. This process requires in-depth information on the current and desired skills of the workers involved to define the training requirements needed to cover the capacity gap. Projects should also be linked to existing training institutions in order to increase efficiency through access to complementary technical and financial resources.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.