Ellen is a Transport Planner with seven years of industry experience. Her experience encompasses the production of transport assessments, travel plans, diversity impact assessments and transport feasibility studies.
Ellen, when did you first become aware of the possibility of a career in Transport planning?
I studied geography at university and always thought I’d like to be a geography teacher, but soon realised it wasn’t right for me. I started looking for careers which incorporated the things I enjoyed the most about geography, such as learning about new places and understanding how the built environment shapes our lives.
I later came across transport planning and realised that most of the things I loved about geography were key aspects of transport planning. It’s a natural fit for anyone interested in the ‘human’ side of geography – there are often no right answers in transport planning, but there’s lots of creative thinking and problem-solving.
What inspires you about Transport planning?
The pace of change in transport planning keeps me inspired, whether this is in the projects I work on or wider industry developments that filter down to our projects. No two days working as a Transport Planner are the same – the more challenging days don’t come back around often, and the exciting days keep you motivated.
What is the most challenging thing about your job?
No matter how many years you do transport planning or how many projects you work on, some sites bring challenges and constraints that you’ve never seen before. Transport planning encourages you to take what you already know and apply it innovatively to reach a suitable solution. Transport is just one important part of a new development, there are many other factors to consider such as the environment and heritage. Ensuring that the proposals are suitable from every perspective can be a fine balancing act.
What advice do you have for someone interested in Transport planning?
If you like problem-solving and you’re motivated by working on a range of different projects, transport planning could be the right choice for you. It’s the perfect career for someone who enjoys a bit of everything – a typical week at work could include site visits, report writing, calculations, drawings and meetings.
Ellen, what are you working on at the moment?
The Transport Planning team at JNP Group produce many Diversity Impact Assessments for railway infrastructure schemes. A Diversity Impact Assessment is Network Rail’s method of meeting their Public Sector Equality Duty. We’re tasked with looking at how their renewal and refurbishment schemes will impact different user groups, such as railway station passengers and footbridge users.
Seeing our recommendations be factored into designs, and then seeing those improvements in use along bridges and railway stations is incredibly rewarding. Even something that seems as small as a few tactile paving slabs, or a colour contrast handrail, can make a valuable difference.
Where is your favourite place and why?
Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida is my favourite place, and, in my opinion, the best place to spend the holidays. The weather is amazing, and I love all the theme parks and rides.
It is also home to a straddle beam public transit monorail system. The monorail system opened in 1971 and now spans 14.7 miles across 3 lines and 6 stations. It has an average speed of 40mph and is one of the world’s most heavily used monorail systems, with over 150,000 daily riders.