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Transportation Planners

History

The field of modern transportation planning and engineering kicked off in the 1920s and 1930s, when public transportation started to become more congested due to the growth of automobiles. New highways were soon being built, increasing the number of cars on the roads and the number of traffic accidents. According to the Institute of Transportation Engineers, it was during this time that trained and experienced engineers "worked with distressed municipal officials in seeking palliatives for accidents and congestion, largely concentrating their work in the field of traffic regulatory devices, and roadway design and re-design." Many national and regional conferences raised the awareness of traffic problems, bringing this group of concerned technicians together. 

In 1931, the Institute of Transportation Engineers was established in an effort to facilitate traffic movement and reduce accidents. The field of transportation planning evolved in the decades to follow, with professional associations established along the way to provide  guidance on best practices, industry standards, and other resources. Some examples include the American Planning Association, founded in 1978, and the Transportation Professional Certification Board, both of which offer education and certification programs for transportation planners.

Today's transportation planners use various analytical, scientific, and computer-aided design software programs to review transportation systems and make recommendations for improvements. They work closely with transportation engineers, developers, and environmental planners to make sure that regional, city, and state transportation systems and infrastructures are operating efficiently and according to environmental regulations. 

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