What is a Transportation Engineer?

A Transportation Engineer is an engineer that designs or improves transportation systems to allow for safe and efficient traffic flow on roadways, airplanes, trains, ships, buses, and more.

What Does a Transportation Engineer Do?

Transport Engineers focus on designing new transportation systems and infrastructures, including highways, airports, trains, bridges, etc. They do this by analyzing data, identifying problems, and solving them with innovative solutions. Solving these complex problems typically requires the collection and evaluation of systems, traffic flow, accidents, costs, and other statistics. Transport Engineers may also be required to collaborate with other parties on certain projects, including utility companies and government departments.

Where Does a Transport Engineer Work?

Most Transport Engineers spend the majority of their workday in an office environment. They must be proficient in using various pieces of office equipment, including email, telephone, and various computer software programs. However, a Transportation Engineer may sometimes be required to visit construction sites to evaluate and oversee the progress of work. When working on site, they must be able to endure adverse weather conditions and noisy machinery. Transportation Engineers work full-time schedules, though many work overtime if they are involved in directing or overseeing projects.

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What Is the Average Transportation Engineer Salary?

Transportation engineers, who fall under the broader BLS category of civil engineers, earned a median salary of $88,570 as of May 2020. The lowest 10% made around $56,160, while the highest 10% earned around $144,810.* Most Transport Engineers work for private architectural or engineering firms, with a smaller percentage working for the state and local governments.

What Is the Job Demand for Transportation Engineers?

The job demand for transportation engineers is expected to increase by 8% between 2020 and 2030.* New jobs will be generated by an ever-growing population and aging infrastructure, which will require maintenance and perhaps complete revamping. In addition, the new interest in discovering and proliferating renewable energy resources will produce brand new transportation infrastructures in certain regions.

What Transportation Engineering Degree Options Exist?

Transport Engineers must have a bachelor's degree from an ABET-accredited program in civil engineering at minimum. This is essential to obtaining licensure, which is required in all states. To obtain a license, most must pass several official examinations, participate in a few internships, and obtain adequate amounts of work experience.

Many Transport Engineers go on to obtain their master's degree, which can be helpful for obtaining higher paying management positions.

Transportation Engineering Related Degrees

What Kind of Societies and Professional Organizations Do Transportation Engineers Have?

Transport Engineers can browse through these organizations and websites for valuable resources:

  • Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) is an international professional organization that brings Transportation Engineers together for the sake of dialogue, policy development, and the general exchange of information. Aside from numerous meetings and industry-specific resources, ITE also offers an employment center that can help prospective Transport Engineers find a job.
  • AASHTO is a non-profit group that represents all of the highway and transportation departments in the United States. This resource can be extremely helpful for keeping up on the latest transportation news and developments in the United Stated.
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Though this professional organization more generally applies to civil engineers, they can also provide very useful information for Transport Engineers as well. ASCE encourages communication between civil engineers from different disciplines and also hosts professional events around the world. They are also a fantastic resource for continuing education and accessing industry-specific publications.

*2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures and job growth projections for civil engineers reflect national data not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed September 2021.

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