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Transportation Engineer


How to Become a Transportation Engineer
Transportation Engineer Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of Transportation Engineers
Transportation Engineer Salary
Influential Transportation Engineers
Leading Transportation Engineer Organizations
Top Cities for Transportation Engineering Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Transportation Engineer

As this is a very skill intense job almost all Transport Engineers require a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in a field related to engineering. For example, the Bachelor of Science degree in Civil/Transportation Engineering. It goes without saying that the more qualified one is in this field, the better possibility for future job options.

There are junior positions available to final year students, and experience is considered vital for higher positions, such as Honors and Masters.

What does a Transportation Engineer do?

There are several aspects to this job. For example, there is the planning side of transport engineering as it relates to urban planning, technical forecasting and political and economic factors. The technical planning aspect of this job is very detailed. It includes forecasting of passenger travel, which has to take into account a multitude of considerations such as trip generation, which is the establishment of how many trips are required and the purposes of them. There is also trip distribution which focuses on destination choice. Related to the mode of choice is obviously the mode of travel to be used, route assignment etc. The list is literally huge. Although forecasting can be very sophisticated and very detailed, passenger trips are focused on more intensely as it often represents the peak of the demand of any transportation system. As in most jobs there is more than one aspect to transport engineering. There is the design aspect which includes the quantifying of transportation facilities, which is an in-depth analysis of the purpose and requirements of the facility in order to correctly design it for maximum efficiency. Design also takes into account the materials that are to be used, the dimension and quantities required, as well as, the correct positioning and calculation of designs.

There has been an increased demand for transportation engineers due to the massive amounts of urbanization occurring globally. Urbanization results in the expansion of cities and towns, and so a vital aspect of design done by the transportation engineers is to draw up plans for new routes. These plans are often around massive multi-lane highways to be built in places where only local congested roads exist.

In other cities they may decide whether buses or trains can provide the most efficient commuter service. Cities mean traffic and traffic engineers are involved with operation and management of the vehicles and areas under their control. Vehicles that need to be considered will include cars, trains and even other modes of public transport. It therefore makes sense for municipal, county, or state officials to contract engineers to develop, design and implement new transportation systems or to find alternative routes to relieve congestion on existing roadways.

It should be clear now how many different aspects of transportation engineering there can be. They can include highway engineering, railroad engineering, port and harbor engineering, and airport engineering.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Transportation Engineer?

If you are thinking about becoming a Transportation Engineer, it is vital to have a strong math background, be extremely detail-oriented, have a passion for design or engineering, as well as a curiosity to know how things work, as these are the fundamentals characteristics of this job. Computer literacy is also essential. For example, cities like New York have intricate subways, over ground trains and infinite road users, all of which are monitored and run using computers. Knowledge of specific computer systems is not essential as most are either taught through your studies or on the job.

Other additional requirements, that may not necessarily work against you but will certainly benefit you and your career, would be a willingness to travel. As the job involves a lot of design and implementation rather then management, most engineers have to understand that their work is almost always project based and therefore infinite in time.

Along with willingness to travel, communication and interpersonal skills are also important qualities for anyone entering this field, because you will either be instructing those working for you, listening to client's requests or trying to solve problems as they arise. And, of course, solving problems are easier when your communication skills are high.

How much does a Transportation Engineer make?

In the United States the salary varies from around $44,849 to $49,128. Depending on skill and experience level it can be around $64,230 per year. With 20 years experience you can expect to be paid closer to $85,000 per year. This however does not take into account the budget and time schedule bonuses that can come into consideration, and are often connected with project based jobs.


Who are some influential professionals in this field?

McCormick Rankin Corporation (MRC) is one of the most recognized names in this field, as is 2008 ASCE President, David G. Mongan.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

All major engineering firms have Transportation Engineers on their payroll. The leading online community is the Institute of Transportation Engineers, which is the professional society for transportation engineers. Their brother institute is the Institute of Transportation Engineers, a professional society for transportation engineers of America.

Others include:
Institute of Transportation Engineers
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
American Public Transit Association
American Public Works Association
American Road & Transportation Builders Association
Association of American Railroads
Transportation Research Board
Transport Canada
U.S. Department of Transportation

What are the top cities for Transportation Engineering jobs?

The nature of this field is bound to gravitate towards more developed or radically fast developing areas. So we are looking at all established cities such as London, Paris, New York which will require highly advanced and experienced transportation engineers. Japan with its minimal space, high technology and fast paced lifestyle depends on efficiency in design, implementations and management of transport.

China is constructing 8 lane highways at a time in order to try to keep up with the massive increase in Urbanization so all major cities in China offer great opportunities. Not to mention the massive amounts being spent in Dubai on construction. And with each project there are countless areas where Transportation Engineers are required.

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