Case study

Transport planner — Adrian Barritt

Adrian's experience in different sectors has opened up new career opportunities with a global engineering, management and development consultancy

I graduated with a geography degree from Loughborough University. As geography is a broad subject, I had focused on those modules with a societal, environmental and political element, and tailored my dissertation to tie my research in with my interests.

My dissertation, in which I compared environmental performance and behaviours at universities, helped me establish relationships with several organisations and to secure my first job after graduating as a sustainability assistant at the University of Northampton. I didn't realise it at the time, but this role was a great platform to begin my career, introducing me to different fields and offering a variety of experience, including reviewing and implementing sustainable transport policies.

Realising that I had a keen interest in transport practice and policies, I joined Brighton and Hove City Council. This was a strategic move as I wanted to gain a good understanding of how local authorities work as they play a decisive role in the transport planning process. I worked on projects to develop the council's travel strategy to cut carbon emissions, along with providing additional cycle infrastructure across the city.

I then moved to consultants Mott MacDonald, working on transport strategies and managing transport projects in the UK and overseas. Since joining Mott MacDonald, the most challenging element of my work has been managing several projects concurrently and balancing the time I spend on each task. This job has reinforced the importance of gaining a good understanding of the project objectives, not least because it helps to improve the quality of work. One notable project includes developing a sustainable transport strategy for Gibraltar.

I am currently working towards the Transport Planning Professional qualification through the Transport Planning Society (TPS) Professional Development Scheme. This scheme provides a structure for getting a broad understanding of the principles of transport planning, a structure that has given a vital direction for my career. Having opportunities to obtain experience in different sectors is also essential for this qualification.

There are many passionate people working in transport planning, which has a real buzz. For anyone wanting to get into transport planning it's good to demonstrate that enthusiasm, but also to have an awareness of how transport can impact local and national policies and economies.

Within your first couple of years, it's important to get as much experience in as many different disciplines within transport planning as possible before beginning to specialise. There are quite a few areas to try, which is a good thing as you'll be able to find out what suits your skillset - it's not expected for you to know this straightaway. This is one of the benefits in choosing an employer that offers the TPS Professional Development Scheme, which demonstrates their commitment to helping graduates obtain a range of experience early in their career.