- Course: MA Transport Economics (Part-Time)
- Year of graduation: 2017
- Nationality: British
- Job title: Consultant
- Company: PJA
I am currently a consultant at PJA in the field of transport planning and economics where I work on a range of projects for a variety of clients in the public and private sectors. This includes preparation of documents to support planning applications, input into transportation strategies and undertaking economic appraisal to determine the value for money of proposed infrastructure.
Technically this can involve a great degree of travel demand forecasting, traffic modelling, cost-benefit analysis, an understanding of various design standards and auditing sustainable transport facilities. I engage in cross-discipline working with urban designers, architects, engineers, air and noise quality consultants, I regularly liaise with transport and planning bodies from national and local government, and act as project manager for many jobs I work on.
My experience at ITS helped in my job and career in three main ways:
- Primarily, it has enhanced my technical skills and knowledge, mainly in Transport Economics but also across other areas of Transport Planning and Modelling;
- It has improved my understanding of some aspects of the industry, particularly the role of academia in transport, its relationship with government and consultancy, as well as how research is used to inform appraisal methods;
- I have met some great people, who have inspired me, and some I have collaborated on research and appraisal with since finishing my studies.
I chose my ITS course and the University of Leeds because it is the only Transport Economics Masters course in the country (although other universities do modules on the subject as part of Transport Planning programmes). I wanted to further my studies and develop a specialism in Transport Economics, my organisation supported this, with a mutual desire to build an economics and business case specialism within the company.
My advice to students interested in this course and a career in transport is, don’t just learn how to do something, understand (and question) why. The industry is rapidly changing with disruptive technologies; modelling and appraisal methods are continuously updated and challenged; and the distinctions between the work of different disciplines and sectors is becoming ever more blurred. Be flexible and keep and open mind.
Whilst I have worked on many rewarding and interesting commissions during my career so far, my highlight was a direct consequence of my studies in ITS. I completed my dissertation on the topic of urban realm valuation, supervised by John Nellthorp and Manuel Ojeda-Cabral, which I did through a hedonic pricing study of the London residential property market. I achieved the Arup student award for ‘Transport Studies Prize' for the best dissertation at ITS in 2017; subsequently I refined the analysis and went on to write an academic paper on the subject. In May 2018 I presented the paper at the International Transportation Economics Association (ITEA) annual conference in Hong Kong, which to date is my career highlight.