Urban planning community

Thread: How difficult is the math in transportation planning?

1. How difficult is the math in transportation planning?

Hi everyone. I am a former land-use planner in the public sector, and am considering a move to be a transportation planner but the problem is that my math is pretty bad . Would the math in transportation planning be difficult or is it pretty basic stats like I'm hoping?

2. I use basic algebra and some sophisticated stats quite a bit. You need to be able to deal with different sized sample sizes as well as with an understanding of how things cost as well as economics.

3. Originally posted by Urbanator
Would the math in transportation planning be difficult or is it pretty basic stats like I'm hoping?
It depends on the type of tran. planning....the only time the math gets tricky is if you get into developing transportation demand models. Otherwise, the math is within reach of any liberal arts major. However, this brings up a different angle to your question....if math is not your strong point, why would you gravitate toward a sub-field that means working with math everyday? You may be asking for a job you will never enjoy or be comfortable in.

You can do bike and ped stuff....they ignore the math. It is all about choice of mode, not level of service.

4. Trip generation calculations often require the solving ofregression equations. Not at all difficult if you have the correct calculator

5. I manage to get by with my less than stellar math skills. As others point out, it really depends on what aspect of transportation planning you are looking to get in to.

6. Like everything in planning...it depends.

If you are:

Involved in policy
High up the ladder
Manageing Tranportation Improvement Programs

you will use very little math.

7. Thank you all for your replies . With what I have read, I'm thinking transportation planning is not what I want to do and I think I'll wait a little longer so I can get another public sector land use planner position.

8. Transportation and land use are so connected that you'd probably like being in land use if you have an interest in transportation, but you don't like the math.

The advice here is spot-on. I do travel demand model work, and the math can get nuts sometimes. LOS and trip generation aren't bad, though, but in any transportation-related field (even bike and ped) you need a good command over statistics.

Good luck. I hope by now (2 months after your post) that you've found a position that you like.

9. Originally posted by Plan-it
Like everything in planning...it depends.

If you are:

Involved in policy
High up the ladder
Manageing Tranportation Improvement Programs

you will use very little math.
Wow if thats what you think, your DOT offices are a lot more lenient than mine. We are constantly recalculating stuff based upon changing estimates, AQ conformity, reviewing impact on EJ or environmental issues..... Not hard calculations, but definitely cumbersome and most of the time we come up with a near identical product without moving the needle much at all.