Transport Engineering

General Overview

Transport engineering involves planes, trains and automobiles. Transport is continuously improving, becoming faster, cheaper and more efficient - the industry is always moving forward and being influenced by new technologies. Due to this continuous development, there is a very high demand for the management, planning, operations and functional design using engineering principles and management. It is important to continue the progression of roadways, railways, airports and other transport structures due to continuously providing efficient, safe, economic, and environmentally compatible structures. Transport engineering isn’t considered a technical aspect of engineering but more a collaboration of a variety of professions such as urban planning, an overview of civil engineering, environmental impacts, political integration, surveying, future forecasting and supplier management.


In civil engineering terms, transport engineering involves planning, design, construction and maintenance of transport structures. This also includes facilities and systems to integrate with these structures such as pipelines, road traffic support and air space traffic support. In design terms, transport engineering focuses on size to be able to support the structure that is required. Examples of this include looking at road way sizing to support numbers of vehicles travelling along on a daily basis or requirements of getting the number of people into a structure without delay such as an airport. Technical aspects of transport engineering include utilising the correct materials, amount of material and obtaining the right amount of material from the designated suppliers. A prime example of where this could have been implemented better was the use of amount of material on airstrips which ultimately was not capable of withstanding the loads of an Airbus A380. Many airports had to re-engineer their airstrips to allow for such a large aircraft and its subsequent loads.


In planning terms, transport engineers require specific and accurate information such as population demographics, land usage and historically what the land space has been created with, economic activity, travel patterns and volumes which is typically related to population, local laws and statutes, finances and resources and finally local regional expectations. Through obtaining this information, transport engineers can effectively create the appropriate structure and implement its construction in a time efficient manner.


Fundamental aspects of the structures are also required and historically this has included signs, signals and markings. Newer technologies have allowed intelligent computational systems, signs and messages as well as intelligent and in some cases autonomous control systems and transport integration infrastructure.

A roadway midway through construction following the design, planning and sourcing phases. Source:

Required Knowledge

Skills and Expertise

  • Management of planning, design, construction, and operation of roadways, airports, walkways and intersections, railways, air space and structure integration.

  • Estimation of the requirements based on local demographics.

  • Analysis of current infrastructure and future advances in demographics.

  • Use civil engineering principles to improve the transportation systems and structural elements of transport engineering.

  • Supply chain management for large scale infrastructure projects which requires many different material suppliers, project managers and constructors.


Software Understanding

  • CAD packages (E.g. CATIA, Solidworks, Autocad, Inventor, PTC Creo, Revit)

  • Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) understanding (ANSYS)

  • Ability to understand and apply Building Information Modelling (BIM) Software to help with the design and management of construction.

  • Word processing, spreadsheets and presentations (E.g. MS Word, MS Excel, MS Powerpoint; Google Docs, Sheets and Slides)

  • Microsoft Project or other project planning software

Example Jobs
  • Transport Engineer

  • Highway Planning Engineer

  • Service Engineer

  • Rail Track Design Engineer

  • Civil and Structural Engineers

  • Highway Repair Technicians


UK: Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE), Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT), Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE), Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)

USA: ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers), Institute for Transport Engineers (ITE), The American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA)

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