Transportation Planners

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Transportation planners (also known as transport planners) assess public, private and commercial transportation needs and analyse and devise new road/transportation schemes.

Transportation planners are responsible for developing transportation strategies that encompass the needs of all transport users including pedestrians and cyclists, and which consider environmental, efficiency and safety issues. They can work in the private or public sector. Key tasks include:

  • developing potential solutions to problems such as congestion

  • assessing the impact of recent building developments, such as a new housing estate, on transport systems

  • designing research methods and survey techniques

  • modelling traffic flows using mathematical techniques and specialist computer applications

  • analysing and interpreting data

  • preparing reports and publications

  • giving presentations about proposed transportation options

  • acting as an expert witness during public inquiries

  • staying knowledgeable about government transport and planning policy


Qualifications and training required


The majority of transport planners have a degree, not usually in transport but in a related subject such as geography, social science or civil engineering, or in a subject requiring analytical skills, such as maths. Many graduate planners go on to gain a masters, often funded by their employer and studied part time.


It is possible to enter this career as a school leaver, although it is less common. You may be able to find a transport planning technician apprenticeship with a private company or a local authority.


Key skills for transportation planners


  • Teamwork and communication skills

  • Numerical skills

  • IT skills

  • Analytical skills

  • Communication skills (interpersonal, as well as for presentations and written reports)

  • Problem solving


Typical employers of transportation planners


  • Department for Transport

  • Local authorities (county, district, borough and city councils)

  • Specialist consultancies

  • Public transport operators

  • Transport Research Laboratory


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