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What are Different Transportation Engineer Jobs?

Transportation engineers design facilities and systems related to travel. They create simulations and blueprints, research new technologies, and oversee construction projects. There are many different transportation engineer jobs available to professionals who have received the appropriate education and training. Engineers typically focus on the design of highways, railroads, subways, airports, or one of many other specialized transportation systems. Transportation engineer jobs can be found in government organizations, research and development companies, and private contracting businesses.

Many transportation engineer jobs are held by people in city governments who design and control roadway traffic systems. Professionals design highways, on- and off-ramps, overpasses, and the layout of city streets. Some engineers research traffic statistics, such as the number of cars that pass through a given intersection, to determine the most efficient and safest ways to program traffic signals. They advise planning committees on decisions about adding lanes to busy roads and implementing routes for city buses and streetcars.

Engineers also design facilities that cater to travelers. They draw blueprints for train and bus stations, airports, and subways. Transportation engineers typically determine the correct size and most efficient layout of facilities by considering the needs of people who will use them. When designing an airport, for example, an engineer predicts how many people will be moving through the facility during busy times. She uses the statistic to determine the size of terminals, waiting areas, and parking structures.

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Some transportation engineer jobs entail improving actual systems and vehicles that carry passengers. Engineers design light rails, buses, subway cars, and trains. They set budgets and deadlines for projects, and oversee all aspects of construction to ensure that their designs are built to specifications. Following the construction phase, engineers test finished systems and work out any functional defects they discover.

Many transportation engineers are involved in the research and development of alternative energy technologies. In an effort to cut costs and reduce harmful emissions, they investigate the potential benefits of biofuels and electricity to power city buses. Engineers often work closely with politicians and urban planners to implement new, more environmentally-friendly policies related to public transportation services.

A bachelor's degree in civil engineering usually is sufficient to obtain most transportation engineer jobs, though professionals who want to conduct independent research are usually required to hold master's degrees. Entry-level engineers typically work under the supervision of experienced professionals for several years to become familiar with the duties of the job. In most states and countries, new engineers need to pass licensing and certification exams before they can lead projects. With time and experience, professionals may have the opportunity to become administrators or senior supervisors within their organizations.

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