Career Definition of a Principal Transportation Planner
Principal transportation planners play an important role in directing traffic for different purposes. They may be responsible for coordinating schedules for vehicles arriving at a specific location and establishing the routes for those vehicles. They may also be responsible for determining when vehicles will leave a location and what routes those vehicles will follow.
Their duties also involve reviewing how effective the routes and schedules are. Principal transportation planners need to be able to identify issues and come up with solutions so that the routes and schedules are effective. Those who work for cities or municipalities may be involved in modifying existing transit routes, expanding those routes or designing new routes. It's common for transportation planners to work for factories or other companies and oversee shipping routes, but some transportation planners may also be involved in establishing passenger transit routes or bicycle routes while working for local governments.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree|
|Job Skills||Organizational skills, ability to work effectively as part of a team, strong communication skills, problem-solving skills, computer skills, customer service skills|
|Median Salary (2021)*||$81,744 (senior transportation planners)|
|Job Outlook (2020-2030)**||3% (social scientists and related workers, all other)|
Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A bachelor's degree is typically needed in order to become a principal transportation planner. Employers prefer applicants who have a degree in transportation planning, urban planning, public administration, landscape architecture or a comparable discipline. Some employers also prefer applicants with a master's degree. Since principal transportation planners use computers regularly in their work, they may benefit from having some formal training in using a variety of programs, including office applications, analytics software, computer-aided design software, or design software.
Principal transportation planners have a lot of varied responsibilities, so they need to be able to multitask. Since their work involves assessing how effective the schedules and routes are, they need to have the ability to think critically to solve complex problems. Their regular duties involve coordinating with a lot of other people, so it's also important that principal transportation planners have good customer service and communication skills. They must be able to work as an effective part of a team.
Career Outlook and Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), principal transportation planners are part of the social scientists and related workers category, and they will experience a decline in career opportunities from 2020 to 2030. The BLS projects the growth to be 3% during this time period. Those who work as transportation managers can enjoy high salaries; in December 2021, PayScale.com reported the median annual income for these professionals was $81,744.
There are a number of other career options that share some comparable duties with principal transportation planners or require similar skills. Those interested in this field may want to explore similar occupations, such as being a transportation manager, city planner or logistics analyst, through the following articles.