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Insights What does a graduate transport planner do?

Graduate transport planners help create efficient, safe, and sustainable transportation networks that meet the needs of communities and support economic growth.

Why is their role so significant in modern society? With more than half of the global population living in cities, the demand for well-planned and accessible transportation networks has never been greater. Graduate transport planners are pivotal in addressing these needs, designing systems that reduce congestion, minimize environmental impact, and promote social equity.

At AtkinsRéalis, we view the work of graduate transport planners as an opportunity to contribute to something bigger than ourselves. By shaping the future of transportation, we can create more livable and sustainable communities for generations to come.

What qualifications do I need to be a transport planner?

There are a few routes to becoming a transport planner, with a graduate scheme being a popular choice. Typically, employers seek candidates with degrees in fields like analytics, geography, or urban planning. However, degrees in areas such as English, finance, or business studies can also provide valuable transferable skills.

This career pathway is within reach for many, even for recent graduates without work experience. However, if you've pursued any additional training or certifications relevant to the field, like geographic information systems (GIS) certification or a project management course, be sure to highlight them in your application to underscore your dedication and drive.

Job responsibilities

Analyze transportation data

Graduate planners bring data and new ideas together. You'll be tasked with analyzing transportation data to forecast, appraise, and gather insights. This involves utilizing GIS and traffic modeling software to identify trends and patterns. These inform decision-making and policy development, playing a crucial role in shaping the future of transportation systems.

Conducting transport modeling

As a graduate entering the field of transport planning, you’ll model both transport and people movement to uncover patterns. Working closely with engineers and urban planners, you’ll strategize creative design solutions to tackle the negative impacts of traffic. As a cross-functional team, you'll tap into cutting-edge technology, using intelligent mobility and mobile phone data to craft innovative transport models.

Develop transportation strategies

Launching your journey as a transport planner, you'll be at the center of developing transportation strategies, crafting sustainable travel programs, and shaping the future of urban landscapes. Building your awareness of transportation policies and best practices, you'll apply your planning skills to create vibrant streetscapes and secure approvals for sustainable and accessible developments.

If you opt for a scheme that incorporates rail planning, your role may involve capacity modeling, network assessments, and providing performance advice to optimize the journey experience.

Consultancy and advisory

Graduates in the transport planning world bridge the gap between management consultancy and traditional engineering consultancy roles. Throughout the project lifecycle, from initial feasibility assessments to final service delivery, you’ll offer invaluable insights and expertise to clients. Your personalized advice will empower clients to make informed decisions on project costs, benefits, and investment strategies.

Skills you’ll need to succeed

Unlocking success in a planning graduate scheme requires a diverse set of skills that form the bedrock of your journey.

  • Analytical acumen - Unleash your curiosity in analysis, diving deep into market research
  • Strong communication - Articulating ideas through impeccable report writing and compelling presentations that help build credibility with external stakeholders.
  • Technical proficiency - Embrace technical tools such as GIS and traffic simulation software with confidence. Adapt swiftly to agile methodologies and eagerly embrace emerging technologies.
  • Project leadership - Navigate through a landscape of diverse projects, managing multiple tasks simultaneously and adeptly resolving challenges along the way.

Challenges and future trends

What is the career objective for a transport planner? It’s more than just a job —it's an opportunity to shape a healthier, safer, and smarter future.

As you navigate this dynamic field, you'll encounter various challenges and emerging trends that shape the future of transportation. From addressing congestion and net zero targets to integrating cutting-edge technologies like autonomous vehicles, there's no shortage of opportunities to innovate and drive positive change.

But you won't face these challenges alone. Alongside fellow transport planners, civil engineers, environmental scientists, project managers, and other professionals, you'll collaborate to overcome obstacles and pave the way for more sustainable and accessible transportation models.

Join a team of people who want to build a better world

Now that you know what a graduate transport planner does day-to-day, it’s time to explore the next step - finding a company that you can grow with.

AtkinsRéalis stands as a world-leading design, engineering and project management organization. If you choose to join our team of visionaries - who dare to see things differently and strive to engineer a better future - we’ll support you on your professional journey.

Want to find out more about working with us? Head to our transport hub to learn more about the AtkinsRéalis transport planning graduate scheme and discover the possibilities that lie ahead.