Transportation engineers plan, design, analyze, operate, and maintain transportation systems to ensure the safe and efficient movement of people and goods. They must consider land use, economics, the environment, and social impacts as well as engineering constraints as they design these systems. Transportation engineers work closely with urban planners in the development of new communities or the design of urban renewal projects. Typically, a transportation engineer might be involved in:
- Planning: forecasting transportation demand; defining goals, constraints, and alternatives for transportation systems and services
- Design: design of transportation systems to meet performance criteria; examples of transportation systems include highways, railways, airports, ports, urban and suburban road networks, state and interstate highways, parking lots, traffic control signal systems, and mass transit systems
- Analysis: collecting data on current traffic and trends, modeling transportation systems to evaluate expected performance, cost-benefit and lifecycle cost analysis
- Operations and Monitoring: monitoring construction to verify analysis assumptions and quality control in the construction process, monitoring system performance such as traffic flow or accident rate, maintaining full operability of systems, for example, traffic control systems of street intersections or railroad crossings, so that they remain safe and efficient.