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Learn about news and developments in the transportation planning field by reading publications on the Web site of the American Planning Association's Transportation Planning Division, https://transportation.planning.org/knowledge-center/publications. Take classes in transportation planning that are offered by professional associations. For example, the National Highway Institute offers various classes, including "Basics of Transportation Planning." Search for classes at https://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/course-search. Another great way to gain experience in the field while seeing if this is a good fit for you is through a part-time or summer job in a company that offers transportation planning services. Search for jobs on Web sites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, and LinkedIn, among others. Your school's career services office can help you with the job search. Ask them to also help you set up an informational interview with a transportation planner, so you can learn how they got started in this field.
Transportation planners study how transportation systems operate and how they can be improved. They gather and analyze information in order to identify transportation planning problems and to make recommendations for improvements and new transportation projects. They study data from traffic modeling software, geographic information systems, or related databases. They also create transportation surveys to find out what the public's main concerns are in relation to transportation systems.
Transportation planners work for local, city, and state government groups, for architectural services and engineering, and for technical consulting services. They may work as employees or independent contractors. They work closely with transportation engineers, including transportation modeling specialists, to research, assess, and solve transportation systems problems. They use mathematical techniques and computer applications to simulate and create models of traffic flows.
Planners evaluate the environmental impact of recent construction and building developments on existing transportation systems. They also attend public meetings and hearings to discuss proposals for transportation projects. They share the transportation studies they have prepared with the public and explain the proposals. Planners may attend several public meetings and hearings, initially to gather feedback from those affected by the proposed transportation projects and, later on, to secure consensus on the designs of projects.