Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)


Felix Israel Cabrera Vega

Country: Turkey  

Name: Özcan Aslan

Company: Turkish State Railways –Traction Department

Position: Mechanical Engineer

ITS Course: MSc (Eng) Transport Planning and Engineering 2012

I am working as a mechanical engineer for the High Speed Train Branch of Traction Department at Turkish State Railways. Currently, I’m working in a team that is responsible for the procurement of new high speed trains throughout the preparation of technical specifications, management of the contracts from a technical point of view and commissioning of the trains.

The comprehensive modules offered by ITS has not only helped me gain an insight of transport fundamentals in general, but they also gave me the opportunity to focus on issues that draw on my particular interests like transport investment appraisals and EU rail reform, which I studied as my dissertation. In this context, I have been able to observe the rail reform in Turkey with a wider perspective and even decided to further my studies on rail investment appraisals (high speed rail in particular) with a PhD programme to which I have already received an acceptance letter. In short, I am now certain that my career will be in rail transport and honestly speaking this decision was mainly shaped by the masters course I completed at ITS.

I was funded by the Jean Monnet Scholarship Programme for my studies in the UK, which mainly aims to strengthen the knowledge of public officials in Turkey regarding the EU acquis in order to contribute to the full membership negotiations of Turkey to the EU. I needed to select a programme that could be considered under Transport Policy, as one of the negotiation chapters. Therefore, the transport planning and engineering programme seemed to be the most suitable one for me regarding the modules it offered, which was a good combination of planning/policy courses and engineering ones for me considering my obligations to the scholarship office, my job back then and my engineering background.

New students considering a course at ITS, Leeds should first of all bear in mind that ITS offers a very high level multi-national environment, where you can meet many transport professionals and students from all around the world, giving you the opportunity to hear about transport challenges from many different countries across the globe from students that have actually experienced them unlike just reading from a book. Other than that, ITS has distinguished lecturers that they can benefit from taking various modules offered. Therefore, I definitely recommend studying at ITS for everyone that wants an academic or professional career in the area of transport.