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Transportation Planners

The Job

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.

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