By Nsim Team
If you want to become a transportation planner, you’ll first need to determine if this career path is right for you. If you’re interested in a well paying career in which you can work with engineers and urban planners to solve challenging and interesting traffic problems such as where to put subway stops, or where the new airport for your city should go, then you should consider a career as a transportation planner.
Transportation planners are responsible for planning, managing and improving a municipality’s transportation system. Transportation planners must also forecast traffic patterns and develop strategies to manage the demand and change travel behaviours of a municipality’s citizenry.
Transportation planning is a field of increasing complexity, and as such many entry-level jobs require candidates to have a master’s degree from an accredited program in transportation planning, civil engineering, or a related field.
Students can typically be admitted to master's degree programs in these fields with a wide range of undergraduate backgrounds, such as a bachelor's degree in economics, geography, political science, or environmental design.
Some entry-level jobs in transportation planning can be obtained with a bachelor’s degree in a field closely related to transportation planning, although opportunities for advancement will be severely limited unless an advanced degree is obtained.
To become successful as a transportation planner, you'll need to have a certain set of skills and personality attributes; without them, you may end up making a lot of bad decisions with long-term effects on the transportation system of the city.
• The ability to consider solutions to a problem from many competing points of view
• Must be able to make a firm commitment to a decision
• The ability to work with professionals from different fields
• Excellent communication and persuasion skills
• Must have an interest in serving the public
• Enjoy developing innovative solutions and proposals
• Must be able to coordinate and supervise the work of others
There are a few different types of organizations that are interested in employing the skills, knowledge and competencies of transportation planners. Transportation planners may be hired by these organizations on a part-time, full-time, temporary or contract basis, depending on the needs of the employer.
Universities and colleges: Educational institutions may hire transportation planners for instructing related courses, or for research purposes.
Urban planning and Engineering consulting firms: May hire transportation planners for providing consulting services to municipalities who are improving their transportation systems, or implementing a special project
Private/Public research institutes: May hire transportation planning experts for the purposes of conducting research in order to advance knowledge in the field.
Municipal government transportation departments: May hire transportation permanent staff to oversee the planning, implementation and maintenance of municipal transportation systems.
Private transportation planning firms: May hire transportation planners as regular staff, to assist with projects contracted by municipalities.