- Course: MSc Transport Planning
- Year of graduation: 2006
- Nationality: British
- Job title: Station Capacity Planner
- Company: Network Rail
I work for Network Rail in the Station Capacity Planning team. Before coming to work for Network Rail I worked as a Transport Planner for an engineering consultancy and as a consultant for a software company that specialises in pedestrian micro-simulation.
As a team our work covers every station on the network, all 2,520 of them, as well as any plans for new stations. We are responsible for all elements of passenger movements through a station from whether there are enough ticket machines and gates to whether the station operates safely and crowding does not impact on performance or more importantly, safety.
I am currently working on building a micro-simulation model of London Waterloo station. This model will help stakeholders decide on the best design for the station in the coming years. It is my job to ensure that we build a station which provides comfort and safety for passengers as well as providing good value for money by maximizing Network Rail’s assets and accommodating future growth. My job involves working with a wide range of people/sectors such as architects, engineers, train operation companies and community groups and I obviously visit a lot of train stations!
I found I have really benefited from learning about so many different aspects of transport at ITS as you aren’t limited to a particular area at all in terms of module choice. Having covered such a wide range of topics I felt confident when I started work putting myself forward for lots of varied project work as none of it was completely new. This meant I didn’t limit myself and was lucky enough to try out lots of different projects which was not only more interesting, and attractive to employers, but allowed me to make an informed decision about the area of transport I was most interested in.
I still find having this broad basis helps me in my job today as in transport all elements are interrelated and it’s important, for example, that I understand the economics and forecasting behind the passenger numbers I feed into my modeling work.
Having already carried out my undergraduate at Leeds and taken some of the ITS undergraduate modules along with my Geography degree I knew that I was both interested in the subject matter and that the staff support was excellent. It had become apparent during my undergraduate course how well regarded the institute was in the transport sector and that it would offer a head start for my career by having a Masters under my belt. It also helped that Leeds was such a lovely city to be a student in and that the campus setting made you feel really involved all aspects of University life.
My advice to students considering studying at ITS is that doing a Masters is a different experience to undergraduate degrees and you must be prepared for this, and the hard work that comes with it. Rightly so the academics I was working with expected to see a marked difference in the quality of my work and research when I came back for the Master as opposed to my undergraduate modules. I would advise all students to challenge themselves to learn about new areas and use the course as an opportunity to research areas they haven’t come across in their studies/careers to date.
I would also advise being organised financially. Coming straight from an undergraduate degree I was keen to get some financial support to help towards the cost of the course. Early on I did a lot of research into funding streams and along with some excellent advice from ITS I was able to secure a scholarship.