Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)


Alan Beswick

Country: Australia

Name: Catherine Wallace

Company: Department of Transport (Western Australia)

Position: Executive Director Major Transport Projects (acting)      

ITS Course: MSc Sustainability in Transport, 2014

I am currently the acting Executive Director Major Transport Projects at the Department of Transport in Western Australia.  It’s my job to lead the Major Transport Projects branch, which coordinates significant transport projects for the government of Western Australia.  My team works with government agencies, private industry and other stakeholders to develop and deliver significant transport projects. We have a focus on freight projects (such as ports and freight rail), but we also work on projects with the State’s public transport and roads agencies. Another part of my role is to help set the policy, planning and investment priorities, and the broader strategic direction, for the Department.

I have worked in the transport industry for about 10 years, in operational, project management and policy-based roles.  However, I had not had much exposure to transport planning.  The Masters program at ITS has helped me develop a much better understanding of transport planning, as well as deepening my understanding of transport policy and economics. My job has a strategic focus, so it’s important that I can both oversee discrete projects and grasp their role and influence in the wider context of transport in Western Australia.  My studies at ITS have added new pieces to the jigsaw puzzle, helping me to see the bigger picture.

I choose my ITS course and Leeds University because ITS is internationally renowned.  My employer specifically offered a scholarship to study on the ITS Masters program and I was lucky enough to be the recipient!

My advice to students interested in this course is that the ITS Masters program is a great course, both for those interested in getting into the transport industry and those already in the industry looking to deepen their understanding of transport planning (or economics, or engineering – depending on your chosen stream).  I’d encourage people who are interested to get in touch with ITS, come along to an open day, have a chat with staff and current/former students.  The ITS experience is inclusive and welcoming.  You learn not just from the great staff, but also from your fellow students who come from a variety of backgrounds and have a lot of different experiences to share.