How to become a successful Transportation Engineer – 8 Key Points

By June 18, 2020July 31st, 2021Civil Engineering, Interview Tips, Traffic Engineering
Transportation Engineering

Many students ask me how to become a successful Transportation Engineer, so here I am summarising a blog to guide our newbie students or no experience civil engineers.

Transportation Engineering uses the latest techniques to provide safe and efficient movement of traffic from one place to another. Transportation Engineer designs or advances transportation systems to allow for safe and effective traffic movement on roadways, airways, trains, ships, buses, etc.



Why Transportation Engineers are in demand & Why Transportation Engineering a good career option?                     

  • Demand and Supply Gap

Massive capital investment on transport infrastructure projects is happening across the globe and it will continue to happen. There is a huge demand for skilled Transportation Engineers to fulfill the project resource requirement. and there is a huge shortage of skilled Transportation Engineers.

  • Complex Tasks / Complex Technical Skills

The latest transportation software and modeling tools are very complex. It needs advanced level skillsets to run the model and get the output. Rapidly changing technology means you need to update yourself all the time. As a result, there is always a scope for newbies to chip in,  break the status quo and develop a better and more effective product and solution.

  • Variation

Transport Engineering jobs varied from modeling and simulation of one urban road junction to regional modeling of a metropolitan region covering multiple towns, so as the modeling tools. This means you will have multiple options to excel in your career within the transportation engineer sector.

As a transport planner, you can apply for professional tiles such as Chartered Transport Planner with the Transport Planning Society or the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.  These are well-recognized titles the world over and significantly improve the possibility to become project manager, discipline leads, etc.

Transportation Engineer Educational Requirements

Transportation Engineer jobs are specialized skilled jobs, so the minimum requirement is a master’s degree in Transportation Engineering or Transportation Planning along with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering or B. Planning or B.Arch.

Further study in Transportation Engineer like doctorate degree would surely enhance student’s profile and receiving an offer from a high-end cutting-edge employer would be very much possible.

What is the Average Transportation Engineer Salary?

The 2019 survey of suggests that the average salary of an entry-level Transport Engineer in the USA is $66,134. Although if you drill down to city and experience levels, it varies significantly. The salary structure of Transport engineers in other countries also stays in higher brackets, so overall the Transportation Engineering profession offers a decent salary package and exciting career opportunities.

Required Education Bachelor’s degree in engineering
Other Requirements Some states may require licensure
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 6% (for all civil engineers)
Median Salary (2019)** $66,134 (for all transportation engineers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **

Where do Transportation Engineers work or Job Outlook of Transportation Engineers

Transportation Engineers mostly work in an office environment with a limited requirement of site visits to examine spots for automatic traffic survey counters or to familiarise with local traffic network of the project area or review black spots of road accidents, etc.

Transportation engineering consulting firms, transport software development firms, road safety audit firms, etc are potential employers of Transportation Engineers.

Global Job Opportunities:

Acquiring a degree or master’s degree from well recognized educational institutions is the preferred choice of many aspiring students as far as a global job opportunity is concerned. Having strong software capabilities of demanding transportation engineering software also opens various global job opportunities. Various multinational consulting firms also provide intracompany transfer opportunities to their employees from one country to others if a suitable candidate is identified.

Companies for civil engineers

Key Transportation Engineering Software’s:

  • Junction and Signal Design

Transport Research Lab, UK provides ARCADY, PICADY & OSCADY for the designing and modeling of priority junctions, such as roundabouts and crossroads.

  • Arcady:

Arcady is designed for the assessment of roundabouts. It forecasts accident rates, size, queue, and interruption for practically any size of the roundabout.


Picady envisages accident rates, sizes, queue lengths, and delays (both queuing and geometric) at non-signalized major/minor priority junctions.

  • Oscady

OSCADY delivers assessment and optimization of simple isolated signalized junctions. If shared with an ARCADY roundabout in Lane Simulation mode, it can also be used to assess partially signalized roundabouts.

  • Transit

TRANSYT controls optimum, synchronised traffic signal timings and is suitable for urban intersections and networks, signalized or unsignalled roundabouts, and motorway intersections.

  • Traffic Control

TRL also offers design software for signal fittings, from the feasibility stage to managing the application, through to scheme commissioning.

MOVA is intended to cater for a variety of traffic situations, from very low flows through to a junction that is oversaturated. MOVA operates in a delay minimizing mode; if any approach becomes overloaded, the system shifts to capacity to make the best use of the procedure.

SCOOT is an actual and competent solution for controlling traffic on signalized road networks. By exploiting the use of live data from vehicle sensors, SCOOT rapidly regulates traffic signal settings to reduce vehicle interruptions. SCOOT replies rapidly to changes in traffic, but not so fast that it is wobbly; it avoids large variations in control performance as a result of provisional changes in traffic patterns.

LinSig is a complete design and modelling package for traffic signal junctions moreover individually or in a network of numerous junctions

  • Transport Planning and Land-use

CUBE – Cube is the only modeling platform that addresses all aspects of transportation planning, engineering, and land use. With an open platform, Cube allows to size and regulate models of any type.

  • Economic Appraisal

HDM-4: The Highway Design and Maintenance Standards Model (HDM-III), developed by the World Bank, has been used for over two decades to combine technical and economic appraisal of road investment projects, standards and strategies. The International Study of Highway Development and Management (ISOHDM) has extended the scope of the HDM-III model to provide a harmonized systems approach to road management, with adaptable and user-friendly software tools. The new Highway Development and Management (HDM-4) system is the result of the study.

  • Online Courses

The provides online courses covering Highways Engineer, Traffic Engineering, Signal Design, Project Management, etc. The online courses of gcelab or any similar platforms are extremely useful to upgrade the knowledge and understand best practices. if you are a newbie Transportation Engineer, then you should watch this space very closely.


Interview and Guidance of Experts with some specific Transportation Engineering Facts

Making a career as a Transportation Engineer doesn’t mean that you need to reinvent the wheel. Various expert across the globe share their professional experience and journey via interviews or webinars. The also talks to various industry experts including Transportation Engineering Experts. You should watch those interviews and find key tips, the lessons from their experiences and implement them in your professional journey.  Please see the link of some of the interview videos of those Transportation Engineering experts, available at gcelab’s YouTube channel:


Key Takeaways:

Transportation Engineering professionals are in huge demand.  It’s an exciting, demanding, and challenging sector. Civil Engineering is in transiting very rapidly towards 3D and 4D uses of digital models. It means in the coming decade or so, we will see more and more use of BIM or similar 3D/ 4D technologies and new career aspirant of transportation engineering need to watch this technological transition very closely. There is a tremendous opportunity for them to leapfrog in their career if a correct opportunity is grabbed at the right time.

Regards, Pooja

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