Image of Joe Eyles, ITS alumni

Joe Eyles

My current job is a Transport Planner within the Economics and Appraisal team at WSP. My role involves preparing business cases to prove the value of specific schemes. My focus is on public transport and many of the recent schemes I have worked on have been developed with Leeds City Council as part of the Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme (LPTIP). As part of preparing a business case, there is often a lot of data analysis and/or modelling required to capture journey time changes or capture the forecasted demand for a scheme.

The Department for Transport (DfT) business case guidance recommends a five-case approach. Usually, my main focus is the Economic Case. For this case the main aim is to capture the economic benefits (in monetary form) of the scheme and compare them to the costs, in order to calculate a Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR).

My experience at ITS has been extremely valuable for my job and career as I have learnt many of the appraisal techniques I use every day. It has also helped to improve my writing style and presentational skills significantly, which are vital when working for a consultancy. As I undertook my MSc part time, I also learnt the valuable skill of managing the competing workloads of my job and my course.

Having worked for 2 years before I applied for the course, I felt I lacked the specific economics and appraisal skills to progress into the role I have today. Having undertaken an Economics BSc and having moved into the transportation sector, the Transport Economics course was ideal for me.

ITS has a reputation as the best place for Postgraduate studies in Transport in the UK and one of the best in the world, plus with working and living in Leeds the university was right on my doorstep so the decision to choose to study at ITS was a no brainer.

The course is really useful for a career in Transport and you will meet lots of likeminded people from around the world. The course also teaches you many skills that will be directly applicable to working on transport schemes (in the UK). Transport is a growing sector with lots of exciting new projects, I’ve found it an enjoyable sector to work in with great collaboration between the public and private sector. Go for it!

The highlight of my career so far has been working on the LPTIP projects as they are being planned, designed and built in the city that I live in, right on my doorstep! I’ve developed business cases for city centre public realm schemes, bus priority schemes and park & ride sites across Leeds. We are now starting to see the first of these schemes being built, with the Headrow scheme on the ground in September 2019 – when I saw this start was the proudest moment I’ve had so far in my career.