Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)


Bob Peters

Country: Singapore

Name: Esther Lo

Company: Land Transport Authority

Position: Senior Engineer

ITS Course: MSc (Eng) Transport Planning and Engineering, 2011

I am currently working for the Land Transport Authority in Singapore as a Senior Engineer in the Traffic Management division. My job involves planning, design, implementation and reviewing traffic schemes in Singapore to maximize the efficiency of the existing road system without building new roads. As of 2013, 12% of the land in Singapore is taken up by roads. Due to the country's land scarcity, it is not sustainable to build more roads. Therefore, it is crucial to manage traffic effectively and to enhance the travel experience for all road users.

My experience at ITS has taught me to look at transport from various perspectives. I have learned that there is no "one size fits all" solution. For example, the "Pluto" coursework from the Transport Planning and Policy module demonstrates that to reduce traffic congestion, lower number of casualties and improved air pollution may be expected. However, noise pollution may increase due to increase in traffic speeds. It all depends on what our objectives are and what we deem important. This applies to my current job, whereby I try to balance the needs of all road users. Whilst acknowledging that some objectives may have to be compromised, the aim is to achieve efficiency for the system as a whole using a package of measures.

I used to work for Pell Frischmann, Wakefield. My previous employer supports employees to enrol in the Masters course at ITS on a part-time basis, whereby we get a day release every week to attend university. A few of my colleagues who had completed the course encouraged me to sign up for the course although they did warn me that it would be hard work. I attended the course on a part-time basis for one semester but was finding it increasingly difficult to juggle a full-time job and part-time studies. Therefore, I made the decision to quit my job and switched to full-time education to complete the course. I believe the learning experience at ITS was worthwhile and this is backed up by its reputation as one of the world's leading centres for transport research.

ITS offers a number of courses which caters to the various transport aspects - combining Transport Planning with Engineering, Environment, Economics and Sustainability. My advice to new students is to take time to browse through the modules being offered and choose the course that is most applicable to you. The learning experience at ITS will be worthwhile. The staff are not only knowledgeable but they are also very approachable and are more than happy to share their views.