Senior Transport Planner - CIHT Member

What is CIHT?

The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) represents over 14,000 professionals working in transport infrastructure. Melissa Vento, Senior Transport Planner is a CIHT member working for Odyssey Markides.

What is a Senior Transport Planner?

Interested in transport? Always planning ahead? Want a varied career where you’ll have an impact on all kinds of transport systems, from cycle paths to air travel? If so, a transport planning career could be a great fit for you.

As a transport planner you’ll work on lots of different areas of transport like policy, projects and plans. You’ll look to improve the transport systems or see how new systems and ideas can be carried out to make travel better for everyone. With a transport planning career you’ll get the chance to look into all kinds of factors like climate change, the economy and the environment – in fact, part of your job involves working with government initiatives encouraging people to reduce their car use and take up walking, cycling or public transport. It’s a really varied job that will teach you a lot about how different things connect together.

What does a Senior Transport Planner do?

As a senior transport planner you’ll work on policies, projects and plans to improve all kinds of transport systems including public bus routes, cycle paths and roads. You’ll also work on brand-new transport systems, exploring what kind of special infrastructure requirements they’ll need (like bus stops, cycle and car parking, for example).

It may help for you to think of this role as part detective, part explainer and part manager. Your detective skills will come into play when you carry out statistical analysis to examine travel data and accident records. This gives you important insights into how to improve existing transport systems. Once you’ve done the analysis you’ll write reports and present options and ideas to clients, explaining them clearly so everyone can understand what the risks and benefits are. As a senior transport planner you’ll take on the responsibility of managing studies and projects surrounding transport planning.

DID YOU KNOW? Another important part of your job is to make sure that the public are aware of any changes to be made to a transport system. One way you’ll do this is through events where you can present information and answer any questions they have about the proposed plans.

Is a career in transport planning right for me?

Want to influence the way people move around? Can you manage your time well and efficiently? Want to work in a varied industry where you’ll work with a variety of different people and on a range of projects?

If that sounds like you, then a career in transport planning could be the answer.

How to become a Senior Transport Planner

Once you’ve completed a qualification that allows you to work in transport planning (like a degree or apprenticeship) you can gain work experience in the transport sector. One way to do this is by working for a local council, for example. Relevant experience like this will equip you with the skills to become a transport planner and also show employers that you have a strong interest in transport.

If you work for a local council, look out for internal opportunities in the planning department. You can also express an interest in taking your career in that direction to your manager.

If you choose to study at university, you can enhance your skills and qualifications by taking a Master’s degree course in transport planning which you can usually do part-time so you can gain experience within the sector and learn on your course at the same time.

Whichever career path you take, remember that the smallest opportunities can be the ones that open doors in the future. Day courses, work experience and attending conferences are just the tip of the iceberg. Making the most of “networking opportunities have helped in my career,” says CIHT member Melissa Vento, a senior transport planner with transport consultancy Odyssey Markides. “It also helps not to undersell skills from jobs you’ve taken in the past. Most skills you learn, for example, communicating with members of the public from working in a shop, are transferable and are valuable to employers.”

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