- Course: MSc (Eng) Transport Planning and Engineering
- Year of graduation: 1978
- Nationality: British
- Job title: Strategic Transport Planner
- Company: Kent County Council
I am currently a strategic transport planner with Kent County Council. I'm working on transport strategies in support of Local Development Framework, which set the planning blueprint in various areas for the next 15-20 years. For the last couple of years, I have been working on Maidstone Borough Council's Core Strategy. This is due to go out to public consultation in the autumn, and will identify how the Borough will accommodate 10,000 new homes and 10,000 new jobs in the period up to 2026. This involves converting the output from a VISUM multi-modal model into a form that can be readily understood by councillors and the public. I also work with the Highways Agency, Network Rail, and bus operators on the most effective means of dealing with growth.
"My time at ITS (1977-1978) gave me a thorough grounding in the principles of traffic engineering and transport planning. This has been useful through my career."
I now fulfil a client role rather than a technical expert. I would expect that the content of the M.Sc. course has changed greatly over the intervening years, but the same basic principles will hold true. Traffic and transport planning is the study of human behaviour and it cannot be done with absolute precision. The job involves the understanding of technical, safety, economic, political, and environmental factors. The framework and criteria against which decisions are made is continually changing and provides a challenging career. I have worked on schemes as small as pelican crossings and traffic calming, through the "predict and provide" era of lengthy bypasses, and on to travel plans, sustainable transport, and demand management initiatives.
I trained initially as a civil engineer at the University of Surrey. The M.Sc. course at Leeds offered me an opportunity to pursue my specific interest in transport to a more detailed level. I had worked for Dorset County Council on a mixture of small construction schemes during holiday jobs, and I wanted to understand and contribute to the bigger and more complex discipline of transport. I felt that Leeds offered a different world to my upbringing in Dorset.
"I found the M.Sc. course at Leeds an intense and challenging experience, but ultimately very rewarding. The lectures and coursework covered a wide range of transport issues and required a great investment in time and effort over the year."
However, Leeds has more to offer than just coursework and exams. I have happy memories of a number of public houses in the vicinity, and the Yorkshire Dales have scenery on the grand scale. The museums of York, and the coast are within reach by public transport, as is afternoon tea at Betty's (Harrogate, Ilkley etc.). Much might be learned from observing how people move around the city and countryside by various modes of transport, and an occasional perusal of the Yorkshire Evening Post would give an indication of what the public (the ultimate clients) feel about transport issues.