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Become A Transportation Planner

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Working As A Transportation Planner

  • Developing Objectives and Strategies
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Getting Information
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • $81,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Transportation Planner Do

Urban and regional planners develop land use plans and programs that help create communities, accommodate population growth, and revitalize physical facilities in towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas.

Duties

Urban and regional planners typically do the following:

  • Meet with public officials, developers, and the public regarding development plans and land use
  • Administer government plans or policies affecting land use, the environment, zoning, historic buildings, public utilities, community facilities, housing, community design, and transportation
  • Gather and analyze market research data, censuses, and economic and environmental studies
  • Conduct field investigations to analyze factors affecting community development and decline, including land use
  • Review site plans submitted by developers
  • Assess the feasibility of proposals and identify needed changes
  • Recommend whether proposals should be approved or denied
  • Present projects to communities, planning officials, and planning commissions
  • Stay current on zoning or building codes, environmental regulations, and other legal issues

Urban and regional planners identify community needs and develop short- and long-term solutions to develop and revitalize communities and areas. For example, planners examine ideas for proposed facilities, such as schools, to ensure that these facilities will meet the needs of a changing population.

As an area grows or changes, planners help communities manage the related economic, social, and environmental issues, such as planning a new park, sheltering the homeless, and making the region more attractive to businesses.

Some planners work on broad, community-wide projects; others focus on specific issues. Ultimately, planners advocate the best use of a community’s land and resources for residential, commercial, industrial, educational, and recreational purposes.

When beginning a project, planners work with public officials, community members, and other groups to identify community issues and goals. Using research and data analysis, and collaborating with interest groups, they formulate strategies to address issues and to meet goals.

Planners also may help carry out community plans by overseeing projects and organizing the work of the groups involved. Projects may range from a policy recommendation for a specific initiative to a long-term, comprehensive area plan.

Urban and regional planners use a variety of tools and technology in their work, including geographic information systems (GIS) that analyze and manipulate data. GIS is used to integrate data with digital maps. For example, planners use GIS to overlay a land map with population density indicators. They also use statistical software, visualization and presentation programs, financial spreadsheets, and other database and software programs.

The following are examples of types of urban and regional planners:

Land use and code enforcement planners are concerned with the way land is used and whether development plans comply with codes, which are the standards and laws of a jurisdiction. These planners work to carry out effective planning and zoning policies and ordinances. For example, a planner may develop a policy to encourage development in an underutilized location and to discourage development in an environmentally sensitive area.

Transportation planners develop transportation plans and programs for an area. They identify transportation needs and issues, assess the impact of transportation services or systems, and anticipate and address future transportation patterns. For example, as growth outside the city creates more jobs, the need for public transportation to get workers to those jobs increases. Transportation planners develop and model possible solutions and explain the possibilities to planning boards and the public.

Environmental and natural resources planners attempt to mitigate the harmful effects of development on the environment. They may focus on conserving resources, preventing destruction of ecosystems, or cleaning polluted areas.

Economic development planners focus on the economic activities of an area. They may work to expand or diversify commercial activity, attract businesses, create jobs, or build housing.

Urban design planners strive to make building architecture, streets, and public spaces look and function in accordance with an area’s development and design goals. They combine planning with aspects of architecture and landscape architecture. Urban design planners focus on issues such as city layout, street design, and building and landscape patterns.

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How To Become A Transportation Planner

Urban and regional planners need a master’s degree from an accredited planning program to qualify for most positions.

Education

Most urban and regional planners have a master’s degree from an accredited urban or regional planning program. In 2015, there were 72 programs accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board that offered a master’s degree in planning.

Many master’s programs accept students with a wide range of undergraduate backgrounds. However, many candidates who enter master’s degree programs have a bachelor’s degree in economics, geography, political science, or environmental design.

Most master’s programs include spending considerable time in seminars, workshops, and laboratory courses, in which students learn to analyze and solve planning problems. Although most master’s programs have a similar core curriculum, they often differ in the courses they offer and the issues on which they focus. For example, programs located in agricultural states may focus on rural planning, and programs located in an area with high population density may focus on urban revitalization.

Some planners have a background in a related field, such as public administration, architecture, or landscape architecture.

Aspiring planners with a bachelor’s degree can qualify for a small number of jobs as assistant or junior planners. There are currently 15 accredited bachelor’s degree programs in planning. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree typically need work experience in planning, public policy, or a related field.

Other Experience

Although not necessary for all positions, some entry-level positions require 1 to 2 years of work experience in a related field, such as architecture, public policy, or economic development. Many students gain experience through real-world planning projects or part-time internships while enrolled in a master’s planning program. Others enroll in full-time internships after completing their degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

As of 2015, New Jersey was the only state that required urban and regional planners to be licensed, although Michigan required registration to use the title “community planner.” More information can be requested from the regulatory boards of New Jersey and Michigan.

The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) offers the professional AICP Certification for planners. To become certified, candidates must meet certain education and experience requirements and pass an exam. Certification must be maintained every 2 years. Although certification is not required for all planning positions, some organizations prefer to hire certified planners.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Urban and regional planners analyze information and data from a variety of sources, such as market research studies, censuses, and environmental impact studies. They use statistical techniques and technologies such as geographic information systems (GIS) in their analyses to determine the significance of the data.

Communication skills. Urban and regional planners must be able to communicate clearly and effectively because they often give presentations and meet with a wide variety of audiences, including public officials, interest groups, and community members.

Decisionmaking skills. Urban and regional planners must weigh all possible planning options and combine analysis, creativity, and realism to choose the appropriate action or plan.

Management skills. Urban and regional planners must be able to manage projects, which may include overseeing tasks, planning assignments, and making decisions.

Writing skills. Urban and regional planners need strong writing skills because they often prepare research reports, write grant proposals, and correspond with colleagues and stakeholders.

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Transportation Planner Career Paths

Transportation Planner
Project Manager Program Manager
Operations Program Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Purchasing Manager Supply Chain Manager
Supply Chain Director
14 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Product Manager
Product Line Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Supply Chain Manager
Senior Manager-Supply Chain Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Terminal Manager
Transportation Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Branch Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Supply Chain Management
11 Yearsyrs
Transportation Manager Logistics Manager
Logistics Director
9 Yearsyrs
Transportation Manager Logistics Manager Planning Manager
Planning Director
10 Yearsyrs
Transportation Manager Logistics Manager Purchasing Manager
Supply Chain Lead
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Planner Planning Manager Supply Chain Manager
Supply Chain Logistics Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Planner Planning Manager
Business Planning Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Planner Team Leader Production Supervisor
Distribution Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Operation Supervisor Warehouse Supervisor Logistics Supervisor
Customer Logistics Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Operation Supervisor Account Manager Sales Account Manager
Account Services Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Operation Supervisor Superintendent Operations Project Manager
Deputy Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Business Development Director Community Development Director
Director Of Economic Development
10 Yearsyrs
Logistics Analyst Supply Chain Analyst Demand Planning Manager
Plans And Operations Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Transportation Supervisor Shipping Supervisor Plant Superintendent
Business Unit Leader
11 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Transportation Planner?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Do you work as a Transportation Planner?

Average Yearly Salary
$81,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$41,000
Min 10%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$160,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Facebook
Highest Paying City
Minneapolis, MN
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
3.5 years
How much does a Transportation Planner make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Transportation Planner in the United States is $81,613 per year or $39 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $41,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $160,000.

Real Transportation Planner Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Transportation Planner STV Incorporated New York, NY Sep 30, 2016 $117,874
Transportation Planner STV Incorporated Newark, NJ Jul 15, 2014 $109,484
Transportation Planner STV, Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2013 $104,270
Lead Transportation Planner Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. San Francisco, CA Dec 21, 2015 $103,854
Planner, Transportation Aecom Technical Services, Inc. Oakland, CA Sep 14, 2013 $100,000 -
$150,000
Transportation Planner HDR Engineering, Inc. Bellevue, WA Aug 19, 2016 $95,930
SR. Transportation Planner H.W. Lochner, Inc. Tampa, FL Oct 01, 2014 $93,350
SR. Transportation Planner Iteris, Inc. Santa Ana, CA Jan 10, 2016 $90,501
Senior Transportation Planner The Mobility Group Irvine, CA Sep 15, 2016 $90,304
Transportation Planner Kittelson & Associates, Inc. Sacramento, CA Aug 06, 2015 $90,291
Transportation Planner II Iteris, Inc. Santa Ana, CA Nov 24, 2016 $85,554
Transportation Planner HDR Engineering, Inc. Bellevue, WA Aug 19, 2013 $85,280
Transportation Planner Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. San Francisco, CA Mar 09, 2016 $84,032
Transportation Planner San Francisco County Transportation Authority San Francisco, CA Sep 20, 2016 $84,000
Transportation Planner HDR Engineering, Inc. Orlando, FL Sep 15, 2013 $70,970
Senior Transportation Planner California Department of Transportation Sacramento, CA Apr 25, 2016 $69,960 -
$86,940
Transportation Planner II City of Charlotte Charlotte, NC Oct 02, 2014 $69,482
Transportation Planner/Statistician The Louis Berger Group New York, NY Aug 10, 2015 $69,140
Transportation Planner Aecom Technical Services, Inc. Oakland, CA Aug 26, 2013 $68,922 -
$95,000
Transportation Planner Kittelson & Associates, Inc. Sacramento, CA Jan 21, 2015 $68,767
Transportation Planner I HDR Engineering, Inc. Walnut Creek, CA Apr 04, 2016 $68,640
Engineer and Transportation Planner Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. Washington, DC Dec 02, 2013 $68,000
Graduate Transportation Planner OVE ARUP & Partners PC New York, NY Aug 26, 2016 $61,956
Transportation Planner/Traffic Engineer O. R. George & Associates, Inc. Lanham, MD Sep 01, 2015 $60,000
Transportation Planner Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. Albuquerque, NM Sep 15, 2013 $59,987
Transportation Planner I Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation AUT Los Angeles, CA Sep 03, 2013 $59,812 -
$71,775
Transportation Planner Aecom Technical Services, Inc. New York, NY Sep 05, 2015 $58,635 -
$60,000
Transportation Planner AKRF Inc. New York, NY Aug 31, 2016 $58,302
Transportation Planner LSA Associates, Inc. Riverside, CA Sep 15, 2016 $58,261

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Top Skills for A Transportation Planner

  1. Regional Transportation Plan
  2. Customer Service
  3. GIS
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Served as department liaison for Regional Transportation Plan/Intelligent Transportation System (RTP/ITS)
  • Maximize equipment and personnel utilization to ensure on-time customer service and company financial objectives.
  • Manage complex internal and external transportation, distribution and logistic issues to exceed on-time delivery and performance goals.
  • Leverage experience in logistics and supply chain towards solutions in transportation planning.
  • Developed plans and policies that enhanced transit initiatives and Safe Routes to Schools policies.

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Top 10 Best States for Transportation Planners

  1. Maryland
  2. Virginia
  3. Hawaii
  4. Arizona
  5. District of Columbia
  6. Nevada
  7. Georgia
  8. New Mexico
  9. Minnesota
  10. Alabama
  • (113 jobs)
  • (160 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (61 jobs)
  • (22 jobs)
  • (32 jobs)
  • (78 jobs)
  • (59 jobs)
  • (52 jobs)
  • (24 jobs)

Transportation Planner Demographics

Gender

Male

53.6%

Female

37.2%

Unknown

9.2%
Ethnicity

White

64.0%

Hispanic or Latino

13.7%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

7.6%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

43.1%

Carrier

12.1%

French

8.6%

Chinese

5.2%

Mandarin

5.2%

German

3.4%

Polish

3.4%

Italian

3.4%

Swedish

1.7%

Danish

1.7%

Urdu

1.7%

Cantonese

1.7%

Hebrew

1.7%

Norwegian

1.7%

Belarusian

1.7%

Russian

1.7%

Arabic

1.7%
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Transportation Planner Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

9.9%

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

8.3%

University of Washington

8.3%

Pennsylvania State University

6.8%

University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

6.3%

Iowa State University

6.3%

Michigan State University

5.7%

University of Texas at Arlington

4.2%

University of Iowa

4.2%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

4.2%

Texas A&M University

4.2%

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

3.6%

Arizona State University

3.6%

University of Pennsylvania

3.6%

University of Texas at Austin

3.6%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

3.6%

University of Memphis

3.6%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

3.6%

University of New Orleans

3.1%

Ohio State University

3.1%
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Majors

Business

31.4%

Urban Planning

17.5%

Geography

7.6%

Supply Chain Management

7.0%

Civil Engineering

5.4%

Management

5.1%

Public Administration

3.9%

Political Science

2.4%

Marketing

2.2%

Urban Studies

1.9%

Accounting

1.9%

Communication

1.8%

Finance

1.8%

Project Management

1.7%

Environmental Science

1.6%

Education

1.4%

Psychology

1.4%

General Studies

1.3%

Economics

1.3%

History

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.2%

Masters

34.4%

Other

12.1%

Associate

6.4%

Certificate

4.2%

Doctorate

2.3%

Diploma

0.3%

License

0.1%
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Top Transportation Planner Employers

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