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Transportation planner: job description

Transportation planner: job description

Transportation planners assess public, private and commercial transportation needs and analyse and devise new road/transportation schemes.
Some graduates enter the profession as chartered civil engineers or town planners.

What does a transportation planner do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Transportation planners are responsible for developing sensible transportation strategies that encompass the needs of all transport users including pedestrians and cyclists, and which take into consideration environmental, efficiency and safety issues. Key tasks include:

  • 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

Career progression is possible by gaining chartered status, additional qualifications or transferring employment sector (public or private).

Typical employers of transportation planners

  • Transport Research Laboratory
  • Department of Environment Transport and the Regions (DETR)
  • Local authorities (county, district, borough and metropolitan councils)
  • Specialist consultancies

The numbers of opportunities fluctuate according to government road building and transportation policies. Jobs are advertised by careers services and job centres, in local, national and regional newspapers and in relevant publications including Planning Resource, Local Transport Today and Surveyor as well as their online equivalents. Some consultancies offer opportunities for overseas work.

Qualifications and training required

You will need a good degree in a subject such as civil or structural engineering, mathematics, planning, transport engineering, physics, applied science, operational research or engineering. A postgraduate qualification (for example, in traffic or transport engineering, town or transportation planning) is also common.

Key skills for transportation planners

  • Teamworking skills
  • Numerical skills
  • IT skills
  • Analytical skills
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