Transportation engineering focuses on the design and development of public transportation infrastructure and systems. As a discipline of civil engineering, practitioners endeavor to create roads, bridges, mass transit systems and other modes of transport to enhance society. In this capacity, these practitioners may design, operate and repair any of these assets with the aim of producing fast, efficient, safe, cost-effective, and sustainable forms of transport. Airport, highway, railroad and port engineering are all subsets of the discipline.
Learn more about becoming a transport engineer by contacting the schools below to request information about their programs!
On a daily basis, transport engineers juggle a medley of tasks from interfacing with clients and suppliers in-person and over e-mail to meeting with their teams to receive project status updates and to address any complications in a project lifecycle. More business-oriented professionals may attend strategy sessions with their executive teams and/or meet with current and potential investors to discuss prospective opportunities in the market place. In the evenings, many professionals engage in continuing education initiatives, whereby they may take a course on new technological advances and/or attend a presentation by an academic or industry practitioner to receive insight on best practices or solutions to existing problems.
National and local governments as well as private firms seeks to employ these professionals for global projects, where they are given the responsibility to ensure safety and efficiency, whereby they are entrusted to ensure public safety by meeting building codes and standards through computer hardware and software applications.
Academic Preparation for Transport Engineers
A Bachelor’s Degree is required by employers to secure a position in the industry. Undergraduate students complete classes in design, land development, traffic systems, safety analysis and mass transit, in addition to more general courses in physics and calculus. At the Master’s level, students undertake coursework in construction techniques, risk analysis, soil mechanics, risk modeling and facility design, while Ph.D. candidates perform work in demand forecasting, probability, freight design, and urban planning. Firms often require advanced degrees to undertake positions of senior management. Ph.D. students have the credentials to teach at the university level, while other advanced students may elect to start their own consulting firms to service larger institutions in the industry. Aspiring business executives should work to develop their negotiating, management and leadership capacities. Often, they will demonstrate superb written and oral communication skills in negotiating, making presentations, and directing human assets in an endeavor.
Career information for Transportation Engineers
The Institute of Transportation (ITE), American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE) , and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) have dedicated their efforts to advancing the education of practitioners in the field. They work to promote awareness to the field as well as providing insight into best practices and industry trends. A library of publications, research findings and support organizations are available through the associations. Leading firms have made use of these channels when seeking to fulfill vacancies in their companies. In addition, mentoring networks are available to provide assistance for prospective candidates. According to research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field is expected to continue to experience robust job growth of 20 percent into the year 2020. The most bountiful opportunities are in the states California, Texas, New York, and Illinois. While exact statistics on the median salary of these professionals is unavailable, O*Net reports that professionals in this industry earn a yearly salary of $80,770.
A Real-life Example of a Transport Engineer Career
Based on the experience of several young practitioners in the profession, the field of transport engineering offers a rich professional experience. Scott Sorensen , an engineer from the University of Nebraska, developed an after school education program to teach principles of engineering to high school students, whereby they designed buildings and created electrical applications for Christmas lights. Matthew Arnold, an engineer from Kansas State University, finds the hands on nature of the field most engaging. He thrives performing outdoors, enabling him the experience the vitality absent working in an office. Both Sorensen and Arnold enjoy the state-of-the-art technology they employ on a daily basis such as self-driving vehicles. New challenges encountered have made the field particularly rewarding for Tomas Lindheimer, an engineer from the University of Kansas. He enjoys the broad concepts and intellectual curiosity the industry demands. He believes he’s constantly learning new concepts that compel him to rethink his preconceived notions.
The direct impact the field has on people’s lives serves as the most attractive part of the profession for these young professionals. Instead of sitting in an office, detached from their fellow man, these engineers see the influence their work has on the daily lives of the people they serve. Many professors and industry executives encourage aspiring students and candidates to carefully consider the impact their work has on society as a whole. It is one of a few industries where practitioners see first-hand the results their technical backgrounds have on the ways people experience their daily lives.
If you want to pursue a career path that will help you become a transport engineer, contact the schools below to learn more!