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Transportation Planning

Bucky alum

Member
Messages
82
Points
4
Hey Tranplanner and others, I'm new to this website and trying to see if I want to get a Masters in Transportation or if I want to get an MBA and keep my job in the airline industry. I am interested in how people get around and how you plan usage levels, costs, etc. Is this what you do?

If not, what is your day like? Trying to get a feel for what everybody does around here. My background is in finance for an airline. Thanks.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
Bucky alum said:
Hey Tranplanner and others, I'm new to this website and trying to see if I want to get a Masters in Transportation or if I want to get an MBA and keep my job in the airline industry. I am interested in how people get around and how you plan usage levels, costs, etc. Is this what you do?
You mean, when I'm not surfing Cyburbia?


If not, what is your day like? Trying to get a feel for what everybody does around here. My background is in finance for an airline. Thanks.
I do a lot of different things - transportation "planning" where I am now is definitely focused more on the softer side i.e. non-engineering aspects of sustainable transportation, bicycles, transit, etc. I know the technical side, but I'm not an engineer - I'm a planner.

Current major projects:

1) Functional planning for an LRT line
2) Travel demand forecasting for an area of the City
3) Provide Transportation input for a large-scale redevelopment

I also do a lot of development review - looking at how new developments will impact on the transportation system. Again, instead of focussing on the operational aspects (intersection capacity, access, etc.) I look at trip generation, impacts on transit, traffic infiltration, and transportation policy issues.

I'm not sure about the U.S. system, but I know that up here it is hard to get into a Master's program in Transportation Planning without having an undergrad degree in Engineering - I know, I've tried, and I've been working in the field!

Have you thought about some of the grad degrees in the transportation logistics/business field? Maybe that might fit in better with your current position?
 

Bucky alum

Member
Messages
82
Points
4
Thanks, some more questions for you...

Thanks for your description of what you do. You job descriptions sound exactly like what I am very interested in. Do you mind if I pick your brain some more. How did you get into transportation planning if you didn't get a masters in it? How much experience did you have before you got to work on these size projects?
IIRC, you work for the city of Toronto. On any of your projects (such as LRT) do you deal with private firms or is most of you work with government agencies? Do you know of any programs that are heavy in emphasis such as what you currently do.

Your comment about a Masters in Transportation Planning without an undergrad degree in Engineering strikes a chord with me. I was looking at the Un. of Wisconsin-Madison and UW-Milwaukee Transportation programs and they all require so much emphasis on the engineering side of it.

My concern with most MBA logistics are they focus on supply chain management and Just in time production. Very little has to do with people.

I have a question about your light rail project, if you are building passenger projections, how do you do it. Do you estimate O&M costs to figure out a breakeven and develop your costs and build demand based on different costs? Just curious. Thanks.
 

green22

Cyburbian
Messages
101
Points
6
Is the LRT proposal to modify an existing line eg.St.Clair or for a new line,extending Dudas ave.Or is it in the suburbs to York region where they can better afford to finance it.Or is it deciding benefits between 2 modes,busways vs Lrt etc. Just curious.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
I'm not sure about the U.S. system, but I know that up here it is hard to get into a Master's program in Transportation Planning without having an undergrad degree in Engineering - I know, I've tried, and I've been working in the field!
UNB in Fredericton offers a Masters in Civil Engineering, one is a Masters of Science, no engineering background needed, the other is a masters in engineering that requires a background in engineering. here are some links:




http://www.unb.ca/transpo/

http://www.unb.ca/civil/dept/grad-info.htm

Hopes this helps.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
Long Reply...

Bucky alum said:
How did you get into transportation planning if you didn't get a masters in it? How much experience did you have before you got to work on these size projects?
Uhhh...tough question, with a long answer.

I've always been a transportation geek - cars, planes, trains, buses, etc. As to how I got into transportation planning, well that was a combination of luck and determination (mine). Planning education seems to be a little different in Canada than it is in the States - a planning undergrad degree here is quite specialized (e.g I went to the University of Waterloo, School of Urban and Regional Planning). The main reason I actually ended up in TP, was co-op education. I was able to get work experience in the field while I was at school, so even though I was in a general program, I got specific work experience.


IIRC, you work for the city of Toronto. On any of your projects (such as LRT) do you deal with private firms or is most of you work with government agencies? Do you know of any programs that are heavy in emphasis such as what you currently do.
I deal with a mixture of public and private - depending on the project. I tend to do a lot of co-ordination with the local transit authority in responding to development applications. And I work with them on projects (such as the LRT study). In reviewing Traffic Impact Studies, I'm dealing with the consultants that have prepared them. I also deal with consultants that have been employed by the City to prepare studies.

I can't think of any specific programs - I mean I got by with a general planning degree and my own interest. Going for a Masters in Transportation Planning could potentially trap you into a very technical role such as transportation modelling - I deal with that too, but it's not my life. Unfortunately, I have zero knowledge of U.S. Transportation Planning programs outside of the continuing Education courses offered at Northwestern.


I have a question about your light rail project, if you are building passenger projections, how do you do it. Do you estimate O&M costs to figure out a breakeven and develop your costs and build demand based on different costs? Just curious. Thanks.
Well - the LRT project I'm working on right now is not at that level of detail. Basically what is happening right now is there is a corridor identified in the City's Official Plan as being a future LRT corridor. There is development pressure along this corridor, so we are looking, in a preliminary manner, at how the LRT facility would fit in the current right-of-way (along with the traffic lanes, streetscaping, etc.) and what it might mean in terms of access to these developments which are being brought forward - i.e., do we need to restrict access or protect for addtional right-of-way to accommodate streetcar platforms, portals, and below-grade stations. Right now the study consists of me, a big map, and a pencil. It is very conceptual, and not a technical study. That comes later.

In terms of building passenger projections, well - in this case, that work was done previously, using an EMME/2 transportation model, and other tools to develop a transit network. There need to be further studies done to determine exact timing, and also the more detailing engineering work. Those studies will be lead by others, but I/my office will be involved as a part of the study team.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
green22 said:
Is the LRT proposal to modify an existing line eg.St.Clair or for a new line,extending Dudas ave.Or is it in the suburbs to York region where they can better afford to finance it.Or is it deciding benefits between 2 modes,busways vs Lrt etc. Just curious.
I think my reply to Bucky Alum answered this question...
 

Bucky alum

Member
Messages
82
Points
4
WOW, Thanks for such a long answer

Transplanner-

I really thank you for spending the time to answer these questions I have. I have always been a little weary of getting into planning and getting stuck working on "what road signs hold up best to shotguns fired from passing trucks in southern Texas." Your job sounds like something I really would be interested in. It sounds like your job changes enough that you would never get bored.

Additionally it says you got into Transportation by determination, but you also warned about getting trapped in Transportation modeling. I agree that is kinda how I feel in my current job, somewhat pigeonholed. Would you suggest a masters in urban planning then, to get a more generalized feel, based on my background in business finance. Using an internship to get into transportation or just go the transportation planning route?

Thanks.

Additionally how are the classes at Northwestern? Are they worth it? Wondering about the program there.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
Re: WOW, Thanks for such a long answer

Bucky alum said:

I really thank you for spending the time to answer these questions I have. I have always been a little weary of getting into planning and getting stuck working on "what road signs hold up best to shotguns fired from passing trucks in southern Texas." Your job sounds like something I really would be interested in. It sounds like your job changes enough that you would never get bored.
Well, I don't think you'd get stuck at that end if you went for planning - those types of really technical projects are almost always done by engineering types. And although I really like my job, I do at times feel a little "pigeonholed" - I don't have control over a lot of things I'd like to - it's more of a co-ordination role, trying to get various stakeholders to agree (e.g. traffic engineers vs. transit planners vs. urban designers) while advancing the City's stated transportation planning policies.


Additionally it says you got into Transportation by determination, but you also warned about getting trapped in Transportation modeling. I agree that is kinda how I feel in my current job, somewhat pigeonholed. Would you suggest a masters in urban planning then, to get a more generalized feel, based on my background in business finance. Using an internship to get into transportation or just go the transportation planning route?

Thanks.

Additionally how are the classes at Northwestern? Are they worth it? Wondering about the program there.
I don't want to assume the role of guidance counsellor here - I don't know enough about you, your interests, and situation to start telling you what you need to do or what the best approach is. If you can find a Masters in Planning that has a transportation stream, without being too technical (i.e. requiring an engineering degree) then that probably sounds like what you are looking for. As for Northwestern - I've haven't actually taken any of the courses, but they look good, and seem to have a good reputation. Not sure about the master's program.

If you want anything further, it's probably best to send me a PM or something - unless of course there are others out there interested in this thread.

Cheers
 

masafer

Cyburbian
Messages
32
Points
2
Re: WOW, Thanks for such a long answer

Bucky alum said:
Would you suggest a masters in urban planning then, to get a more generalized feel, based on my background in business finance. Using an internship to get into transportation or just go the transportation planning route?

[/B]
I'm still in school, so I can't speak about the employment side of things yet, but if you wanted to do a planning degree, I'd recommend Rutgers. Our planning degree has a great transportation concentration, focusing on the policy side of things. Plus, we're practically right in your back yard. Unless of course you want to get out of Jersey, which I'd understand.
 

Lake_Country

Member
Messages
13
Points
1
Northwestern

This is a great transportation planning school, and will earn you respect from transportation engineers.

Some engineers have personalities. Some don't. They are your partners in planning, you must help them and use them. Their job overlaps, because planning is a love child of landscape architecture and engineering. Read your history books...
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
Re: Re: WOW, Thanks for such a long answer

masafer said:


I'm still in school, so I can't speak about the employment side of things yet, but if you wanted to do a planning degree, I'd recommend Rutgers. Our planning degree has a great transportation concentration, focusing on the policy side of things. Plus, we're practically right in your back yard. Unless of course you want to get out of Jersey, which I'd understand.
Yeah, I've heard good things about Rutgers. Considered them for a Master's a few years back when it looked like I had a job lined up in Jersey.
 
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