Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Profile

Alan Beswick

Country: Australia

Name: Leanne Farrow

Company: JMP Consultants Ltd

Position: Senior Transport Planner

ITS Course: MSc Transport Planning (2006-2007)

Since completing the MSc at ITS in 2007, I’ve been with JMP Consultants in their Leeds office, where I have progressed to Senior Transport Planner. During my time at JMP, I have developed experience in a wide range of topic areas, but I have developed particular expertise in local and regional transport policy, sustainable transport strategies, and behaviour change initiatives. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity of taking two secondments. I worked at the Highways Agency for 12 months managing their Influencing Travel Behaviour Programme in the North East of England. I also spent nine months with the transport policy team at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, developing a programme of rail station travel plans for their third Local Transport Plan. 

Not only did ITS provide me with the broad technical knowledge I needed to start a career in transport planning, it also helped me to develop a range of ‘core’ skills which prepared me for the workplace - skills such as team working, project management, presenting, undertaking public consultation and reporting for example. 

I am currently working towards gaining the relevant technical and professional skills and experience to obtain the Transport Planning Professional (TPP) qualification through the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT). This relatively new qualification provides professional recognition for transport planners at a level that equates of that of Chartered Engineer.  

I am actively involved in the CIHT and currently chair the Young Professionals Committee (YPC) for the Yorkshire and Humberside Branch. We organise technical and social events in the region, providing the opportunity for young professionals in the industry to keep up to date with current thinking and good practice, demonstrate progress towards their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) objectives, network with their colleagues and meet new people. I would recommend to any young transportation professional to become a member and get involved in their local branch - we would welcome greater student representation on the YPC to ensure that students are properly represented and supported as they make their way into the profession. I would be delighted for students to get in touch if they would like to get involved or to just find out more.

ITS has an exceptional reputation with employers in the transportation industry. I undertook a summer work placement during my undergraduate degree and the company clearly held ITS in very high esteem. In fact, ITS was the first place it looked for graduates.  I therefore knew that I would have good employment opportunities on completing my MSc. 

I really enjoyed a module undertaken in the first semester which offered the chance to undertake a project on behalf of a Local Authority.  We were given a brief and worked as a team to undertake the study, finishing with a presentation to the ‘client’. The skills I developed during this experience were fully transferable to my job as a transport planning consultant. I also really enjoyed the Global Issues in Transport module. I’m very passionate about sustainability and encouraging sustainable travel behaviour against the social norm of car dependence. This module explored the wider impacts that transport can have, which I think is really important for us, as transportation professionals, to understand - after all, our work should aim to create better places for people to live and work.

The ITS Open Day was really informative and definitely helped me decide that ITS was the right choice for me. Speak to people who have completed the MSc - ask them what it meant for them and their careers.  For me, the MSc was the perfect starting point for a career in transport - it was hard work, but definitely worth it! I decided to stay in Leeds after completing my Masters. I like the city and most transport planning consulting companies are based here, creating good employment opportunities. I love the countryside surrounding Leeds and enjoy cycling and walking - so having the Yorkshire Dales in my doorstep is a major bonus!

Many of the colleagues I work with or know in the industry are fellow ITS MSc graduates and I manage to stay in touch with lecturers and students at ITS through attending evening seminars and breakfast briefings - sometimes I even rope my old lecturers into doing talks for CIHT events!

**Update October 2014**: Leanne is based in the Leeds office of JMP and kindly shares her professional experience with current students. Below is a presentation she gave to our MA/MSc students about her work on influencing travel behaviour: