Good question. What is transport engineering? Well, it’s a member of the civil engineering family, which in theory should make rush hour queues as short as possible and buses run on time. With that in mind, you might say that this industry has failed miserably. However, that wouldn’t be the full story.
In truth, transport engineering covers a wide range of issues relating to transport infrastructure and has an impact on all modes of transport, including planes, trains and automobiles. It’s all about getting people from A to B as quickly as possible and in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.
The roles can be divided between the following three disciplines: creation, maintenance and development. You might be creating a new system or building a new train; you might be looking after existing fleets of vehicles; or you might be investigating how to create more efficient engines and vehicles that can carry more people and use less fuel.
Transport engineering in today’s world
Transport engineering is an integral part of any modern country and a major contributing factor to its development. Essentially, it facilitates the swift movement of goods and people. It’s important not to confuse this area of engineering with transport planning. Although planning is a significant part of transport engineering, it is only one of several aspects that make up this subsector.
Transport engineering can cover all kinds of activities, such as maintaining road markings and sign posts, ensuring traffic lights are all working correctly and making sure that emergency routes are kept clear.
Transport engineering also looks beyond the actual roads, railways, airports, canals and ports, to the vehicles being used and the issue of how people can be transported more efficiently. For example, a transport engineer may suggest the introduction of bendy-buses, which can carry up to twice as many people as double-decker buses and are not constrained by factors such as low bridges.
A major project for a transport engineer might be to build an airport. In these high-pressure jobs, they will have to take high volumes of people and traffic into consideration. They’ll also have to implement provisions to cope with the possibility of large scale emergencies. Other people that work in transport engineering may have to maintain the onsite vehicles, so that passengers can be transported to and from aeroplanes. After all, broken down buses may delay flights.
So many people’s roles fall under the umbrella of transport engineering, even the guys at airports that coordinate drivers and plan routes to ensure that all of the car parks have a steady flow of shuttle buses.
What are essential qualities for a career in transport engineering?
Whether you are working as a full-blown transport engineer, an apprentice, a mechanic or a technician, you have to make sure things run smoothly and without delay. It can be a demanding subsector to work in, as even small errors can lead to huge backlogs that can affect thousands of people or put lives in danger.
You might be responsible for maintaining and looking after large passenger vehicles. Consequently, safety has to always be a primary concern. Additionally, attention to detail, a practical disposition and a good degree of logic are all important traits that you will need to thrive in these careers.
So, for a career that is really going somewhere (see what we did there?!) why not check out the transport engineering positions on our jobs board?