What Does a Transport Engineer Do?

Whether it’s high-speed railway networks, a bridge over water, an airport runway, or simply a suburban street, we’ve all experienced and used one of these marvels of modern society.

If you’re wondering who to thank for these, your smooth transition from one highway to another, or the delight of catching every green light, look no further than a transport engineer!

What is transport engineering?

Transport engineering falls under civil engineering. It specifically involves designing, developing and maintaining the transport systems and networks that ensure safe, economical, efficient and environmentally responsible movement. There are various branches of transport engineering, such as highway engineering, port and harbour engineering, and airport engineering, among others.

These engineers use modern technology and scientific principles to research, assess, design and develop the transport networks we’ve come to know (and love). Facility planning and design are the core of the field. However, transport engineers (especially those working in urban and highway transportation) also work in areas like operations planning, logistics, project supervision, and network analysis.

What do transport engineers design and build?

They design and build every network and system used to move people and goods across the globe. Places such as airports, harbours and stations are designed to ensure effective flow of large numbers of people, goods and vehicles.

Transport engineers also develop and design traffic control systems such as traffic lights and circles.

Just think of the jaw-dropping network of railway lines that form the London Underground, the layout of Dubai’s and Singapore’s huge airports, or even something as simple as the placement of a speed bump – it’s all the work of transport engineers.

What tools do they use to do their job?

As with other civil engineers, transport engineers use very precise tools and instruments like computers equipped with industry-relevant software, a variety of measuring and mathematical instruments, and other equipment to help them do their jobs.

Computer software is especially important for data analysis and computer-aided design (CAD), because of the large scale of projects that transport engineers work on. Simulating the ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ scenarios is obviously much cheaper, safer and easier to reset on 3D models or 3D graphics than using life-size models or even actual to-scale models.

How has transport engineering shaped our world?

Imagining life without roads, bridges, railway lines, train stations, airports and harbours is almost impossible. Without transport engineering, there would be no roadtrips, no overseas holidays, no luxury ocean cruises, and no McDonald’s drive-throughs. And did you know that transport engineers can also help to fix traffic jams?

How will transport engineering influence our future?

With time and evolving technologies, transport systems need to be updated and adapted. This benefits us with increased safety, efficiency (think lightning-fast trains), and more environmentally friendly fuel options (think electric cars).

And, when new inventions completely change the way society works, it’ll be transport engineers who’ll be hard at work figuring out the flying car transport system!

Find out more about Lithon’s transport engineering services: info@lithon.com