Title

EDUCATION OF TRANSPORTATION PLANNING PROFESSIONALS

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2002

Subject Area

planning - education, land use - planning

Keywords

Transportation planning, Transportation industry, Transportation engineering, Transportation, Transport, Professional personnel, Improvements, Education, Curricula

Abstract

The practice of transportation planning at the regional level has evolved substantially over the past several decades. Once defined as largely a technical exercise, in which the calculation of required roadway capacity was the preeminent activity, transportation planning now encompasses a wide range of sometimes conflicting problems and demands, from growing levels of congestion and worsening air quality to neighborhood preservation and social equity concerns. But are the curricula in the planning and engineering programs that educate and train transportation professionals adequately preparing them for these new challenges? The objective of the study summarized was to compare the kinds of knowledge and skills important to transportation professionals today with the kinds of knowledge and skills that planning and engineering programs provide their students in order to highlight areas for improvement and suggest ways to enhance the education of transportation professionals. The research involved several components: a literature review of transportation education and planning education, an analysis of planning requirements in federal transportation authorization legislation, construction and analysis of a database of course offerings in the area of transportation planning provided by planning programs and selected transportation engineering programs, a survey of transportation planning professionals, and interviews with selected transportation planning educators and professionals. Some of the key findings from those efforts are summarized, and several important issues are suggested that transportation educators should address to improve the quality of education for transportation planning professionals.