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Big demand for transportation planners?

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,837
Points
59
Looking at the APA job listings, and other places online, I've noticed that a disproportionately large amount of vacancies in the US are for transportation planner positions.

Any reason why there are so many transportaion planner jobs open right now?
 

Belle

Cyburbian
Messages
142
Points
6
When I was considering coming back to school, I asked a planner I knew for some advice. She said I should look for a school with a good reputation but make sure to take plenty of classes in transportation planning. She said that's where the jobs and money in planning are (I know, there's money in planning?). This was 2 years ago, and since I've been checking the job postings, her advice has been sound. If only I had any interest...


Speaking of job listings...

And it seems that more than half the job listings are in California

$ 38 billion deficit....who won't want to move there now?
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Many states have segregated funding for highways (i.e. "transportation" to most politicians) through gasoline taxes. Those have not been as severely impacted by budget crises. While other planning positions get eliminated, highway building goes on.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Umm. Maybe in large jurisdictions that is true. In our neck of the woods we prefer the jack off all trades. I get a resume that says "transportation planner" (sorry tranplanner) its a no-go.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
I wouldn't be surprised if alot of thsoe jobs are "quasi" transportation planner jobs. They get billed out to all different transportation planning projects funded by the FHTWA in some way or another, but they are really doing regular planning work. Ala, my first job.
 

Greenescapist

Cyburbian
Messages
1,169
Points
24
Chet said:
Umm. Maybe in large jurisdictions that is true. In our neck of the woods we prefer the jack off all trades. I get a resume that says "transportation planner" (sorry tranplanner) its a no-go.
That makes me think, how large does a community have to be in order to support its own full-time transportation planner? 80,000 people? 200,000?

I'm not sure yet, but transportation is one of the areas in planning that I'm most interested in.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
I can't explain it - it's the same way up here, and we don't have the billions of federal/state dollars going into transportation infrastructure. Transportation issues are definitely near or at the top of the list for most urban centres though...
 

Masswich

Cyburbian
Messages
1,303
Points
23
ISTEA and its successors

Many of those transportation planning jobs are with Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO's). Beginning in 1990 with ISTEA, federal transportation legislation gave a lot of power to regional MPO's and with it more funding. That funding is what pays for the transportation planners. What they do is mostly the "3C" (continuing, comprehensive and coordinated) planning and federal certification process, drafting a regional transportation plan, drafting a transportation improvement program, doing a regional travel demand model. Without this process their region can't get federal transportation $$$ for any mode, be it rail, road or bike.

I worked for a great MPO for a while, although many are not so good. The work requires a lot of computer/numbers skills and some people skills since you run a lot of public meetings. Unfortunately, the work is also fairly repetitive since a lot of what you do is the same documents on a one or three year cycle over and over again. But the job security is good.
 

Greenescapist

Cyburbian
Messages
1,169
Points
24
Masswich - do you not like your job because of these things that you call "repetitive"? Do you think life as a transportation planner has more variety in a private, consulting setting?
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
I know exactly what Masswich is talking about. Alot of these jobs are for maintaining traffic count databases, keeping the TIP up to date with the same projects over and over again, etc. It is really boring stuff. I almost took a job doing it, but was slapped back into my senses.
 

green lizard

Member
Messages
133
Points
6
Transportation Planning is not that boring.
And the real money in Tran Planning is with
the private consultants. Transportation planning
can be regional (macro) or local (micro).
We get to play with a lot of neat modeling software
and eat up large budgets. We can also have a huge
impact on places things in general, but the outcome is pretty
much a given. (we usally only study it if you complain
about, or we can toll it.)

Most real Tran Planners are ACIP and PE (prof.
engineer) certified, and a few have attained the
PTOE (prof. traffic operations engineer).

Many have Civil Engineering or Traffic Engineering
backgrounds, but a lot do not.

It is definatly the technical approach to planning.

I like it and I love regional modeling, public involvement
(I try to make it real - remmeber the 7 rungs of
citizen participation?) and conceptual planning.
 

Masswich

Cyburbian
Messages
1,303
Points
23
My Job

I love the job I have now, but I don't work for an RPA any more. When I did, I enjoyed it because I only stuck around for one "cycle" of RTP/TIP/etc. I also loved the RPA I worked for because it had a very holistic approach to planning and land use, and did not always try to blow out roads to solve congestion.

In terms of private consulting, I also tried that for a while and found it to be very lucrative, but barely planning. The decisions had already been made most of the time, and someone was hiring us to basically justify their decision. We did so with lots of expensive smoke and mirrors but I never needed to use the "planning" side of my brain (except to pull out the occasional buzzword) until I went to the public sector.
 
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