Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)



James Mayes

Country: UK

Name: James Mayes

Company: AECOM

Position: Senior Consultant

ITS Course: Geography with Transport Planning BA, 2012

What have you been doing since finishing your studies? What are you doing in terms of your career?

Since graduating I moved to Manchester, initially living in Altrincham, but have recently moved to Sale. I have been working as a consultant for AECOM in their Freight and Logistics team based in Altrincham. During this time I was seconded into the Freight Division of the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport. I was there for two years and was responsible for coordinating the development of policy and regulation in the freight industry relating to areas such as drivers' hours, vehicle maintenance, HGV annual test procedures, truck weight and dimension limits and the movement of abnormal loads. 

What company are you working for, what is your role and what does it involve?

As a senior consultant in the AECOM Freight and Logistics Team, my role involves applying  both technical and project managing expertise to deliver various projects for both public and private sector clients in the UK and internationally. Clients we work for include TfL, Highways England, DfT, various local authorities across the UK, Abu Dhabi Department of Transport and Transport Scotland. Projects vary, however often involve considerable amounts of desk based research, data analysis, stakeholder engagement and report writing. The AECOM Freight and Logistics team have particular specialisms in developing urban logistics strategies, rail freight feasibility studies and truck parking studies. Additionally AECOM manage the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) under concession from TfL. A recent project I worked on was to develop a feasibility study for a rail freight link and rail head at one of Jaguar Land Rovers manufacturing plants. 

What experiences at Leeds do you think have particularly helped with your career/will help with your future career?

The wider variety of modules on offer in both Geography and Transport gave me really good level of knowledge to build on in my role as a consultant. In particular the Fieldwork module (Helsinki) helped me develop the practical research, data collection and report writing skills required in the commercial world. Also the module which included gaining experience of SATURN and PLUTO was a useful insight into consulting. 

Looking back, why did you choose to study your particular course and why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I chose to study Geography with Transport Planning as I had a keen interest, particularly in Geography and felt that combining it will Transport Planning would make the course more focused, practical and relevant to industry therefore making the transition into a job easier. 

What was the best aspect of the course/the University and why? Any highlights?

I really enjoyed the friendly and informal nature of ITS. The course size was relatively small (around 20-30 students) meaning that you felt more involved and engaged during lectures when compared to lectures of 100+ students. 

What other activities outside of your studies were you involved in?

I was involved in various sporting societies, including football and go karting. During the summer months I used to go for bike rides north of Leeds. 

What would you say to students thinking about studying the same course at Leeds/thinking about the same career?

If you are interested in transport and would like to pursue a career in the sector then ITS at the University of Leeds is one of the best places to study. If possible I would continue onto the Masters level, I think this is becoming more important in the job market.