What is transport planning and how do I become one?

Transport planning is about preparing, assessing and implementing policies, plans and projects to improve and manage our transport systems. There is a need for transport planning on a local, regional, national and international level. It involves understanding the link between transport and land use, in particular the future shape of our towns and cities, and the activities which people want to undertake to meet quality of life objectives. It is critical to the future of the  economy, the state of our environment and how we tackle climate change.  It is also about changing people’s attitudes towards travel to encourage use of sustainable modes, often replacing journeys by car.

What sort of things do transport planners do?

Transport planners have to consider what the future will be like, and recognise that their actions as transport planners will help to shape it.  They have to devise ways to address some of the most serious and complex problems facing us all.  At different times they will have to think like a behavioural psychologist, a civil engineer, a vehicle engineer, a development planner, a computer analyst, an environmental scientist, a social scientist, a fitness expert, and at least two sorts of economist.  They have to be able to work across disciplines and put the pieces of the transport jigsaw all together.  They have to make transparent decisions and communicate complex issues to the public, to key stakeholders, and to politicians.

Transport planning therefore includes a very wide range of disciplines – in fact the wide range of work is one of the big attractions. The work of transport planners touches almost every aspect of our day-to-day lives.