- Course: MSc Transport Planning
- Year of graduation: 2004
- Nationality: British
- Job title: Principal Transport Planner
- Company: URS
As I tell my friends my current role has nothing to do with traffic cones. URS is a leading engineering and environmental consultants, offering professional planning, engineering and architectural design, environmental, construction programme and construction management services. My work generally splits into two sections; firstly, helping private developers access their land and assisting them through the development planning process. This means preparing two main documents, a Transport Assessment (which answers such questions as, what will the development mean for highway capacity and road safety once it is built and open - and how can these impacts be managed?) and a Travel Plan (which answers the question; how will trips to and from the site be managed to reduce single occupancy car trips?)
The second aspect is delivering projects for local authority clients. This can be both wide-ranging and challenging. From preparing business cases supporting major highway schemes through to undertaking specific elements of research to help better target scarce transport funding.
One of the strengths of ITS has to be its links to industry, for example, its development of the SATURN model. I started out doing a lot of SATURN modelling and it was invaluable to have that initial grounding in the software from the people who actually developed it. Although less well known, gaining an understanding of using micro-simulation models from DRACULA was also very useful. There is also an excellent European field trip – everyone I know who has been to ITS mentions it, almost the second questions after “what year were you there?”
I chose ITS because it came highly recommended. After finding out which universities ran courses in transport planning, I asked a few people about my options and the answer always came back the same. Leeds! Plus I had a few friends who had been to Leeds for their undergraduate studies and they all said it was a great city.
My advice to new students is that it is hard work but very interesting and the people you meet here are likely to crop up later in your career so make friends, not enemies.