Transport Economist

Transport and Travel


Transport Engineer

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Clerical or OrganisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 5

A transport economist studies the efficiency, financial organisation and interaction of systems such as railways, air transport, shipping, trucks, buses and cars. They examine the allocation of private and Future Growth Strong government resources to transport systems and the implications of fuel production and importation.

Transport economists also study the effects of regulation, development and the application of demand models, as well as analyse the implications of investment proposals in the transport industry.

Transport planners work on policies, plans and projects relating to all kinds of transport systems. This includes roads and the use of cars, lorries and buses, rail networks, pedestrian systems for walking or cycling, and air travel.

Transport planners look at ways to improve these systems or how new systems can be implemented in certain areas. They will take into consideration issues such as climate change, the economy and the environment. The work of transport planners is often related to government policies and initiatives, such as trying to change the travel behaviour of people by encouraging them to reduce their car use and take up walking, cycling or public transport.

Work can be carried out on different levels from local to international and may include tasks from initial ideas through to design, completion and reviews.

Knowledge, skills and attributes   

  • able to think logically and analytically

  • able to discuss views clearly

  • able to write concisely

  • good at mathematics and statistical analysis.


Aerial road

Duties and Tasks

Work activities are varied and often depend on the level of the job and the size and type of the employer. However, tasks typically include: 

  • designing and interpreting transport and travel surveys;

  • writing clear reports and presenting options and recommendations on transport systems to clients;

  • using statistical analysis to examine travel data or accident records;

  • forming potential solutions to transport problems;

  • using mathematical and computer simulation models to forecast the effects of road improvements, policy changes and/or public transport schemes;

  • evaluating the benefits and costs of different strategies;
    participating in public consultation initiatives, including designing leaflets or questionnaires and attending scheme exhibitions;

  • managing studies and projects, often within tight time and budget limits;

  • assessing infrastructure requirements (access, car parking, bus stops, cycle parking, etc) of new developments to support planning applications or to inform local authority development plans;

  • liaising and negotiating with different parties, e.g. planning and highways authorities, residents' groups, councillors/politicians, developers, transport providers;

  • developing the initial design ideas for new or improved transport infrastructure, such as junction improvements, pedestrian priority schemes, bus interchange or bus priority facilities, car parking areas, etc;

  • acting as an expert witness at public inquiries and planning appeals;

  • writing bids for the funding of projects.


Did You Know?

Sydney Airport is one of the oldest continually operated airports in the world,and the busiest airport in Australia, handling 36 million passengers in 2010 and 289,741 aircraft movements in 2009. It was the 28th busiest airport in the world in 2009.
(Source: Wikipedia)

Over the top
An aircraft travelling over the top of General Holmes Drive, which runs under one of the tarmacs of Sydney's Kingsford-Smith Airport

Transport Economist


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