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Understanding The Role Of The Transport Planner
Transport planning is a specialist area of civil engineering that covers a range of tasks relating to both private developments and public sector schemes. It plays a very important part of our everyday lives as it impacts on a regions quality of life as well as its economy. Well designed transport links allows people to access jobs, education and health services easily and safely while also helping businesses to access customers, suppliers and of course skilled employees. As you can already start to see, transport planning is an important link between our transport system requirements and the needs of society at local, regional and national levels.

It is the role of the 'transport planner' or the 'highways consultant' to improve the transport system, provide advice on policies as well as work on various transport related projects. It is common to think of transport projects as just being about road networks. However, the transport planning specialist will also get involved with railway networks, pedestrian systems, cycle routes and air travel. Today, the transport planner will take into consideration climate change, the economic development objectives, travel behaviour and community needs.

Transport planning work varies and may involve working on anything from an international integrated infrastructure project all the way down to dealing with an access issue on a small parcel of land.

Whatever the complexity of the project, the transport planners' work will typically include the following:

Identifying transport problems and providing potential solutions
Reporting on transport systems and presenting options and recommendations
Creating designs for new or improved transport infrastructures (including junctions, pedestrian areas, and car parking areas, etc
Resolving site access issues
Carrying out road safety audits
Examining travel data and accident records
The design and interpretation of transport surveys
Forecasting the impact of road improvements, policy changes and public transport schemes
Analysing and reporting on the benefits of various transportation strategies
Managing transport projects
Evaluating infrastructure needs to support planning applications for development projects
Analysing and reporting on environmental impact
Advise local authorities on their development plans
Participating in negotiations with planning authorities, local councillors,
developers, architects, special interest groups and transport providers
Contributing to the bid writing process to gain funding for projects
Acting as an expert witness at planning appeals
Participating in local, regional and national public consultation initiatives
Travel planning for large businesses

Transport planners have a huge contribution to make in improving our transport systems and need to be involved in development schemes at all levels from the earliest stages to ensure that they are sustainable and provide the greatest benefit to the economy in the long-term.

Modal Group are transport planning consultants based in the UK. They provide a comprehensive transport planning service to local authorities and private sector developers. Peter Price is a director at Modal Group.

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