Join us
Orange welcome sign that reads Royal Geographical Society with IBG.

Become a member and discover where geography can take you.

Join us

A bit about your background (qualifications, education, previous jobs – how did you get to where you are now?)

Was there anything particularly useful (a job, internship, additional training, etc.) that helped you get into this role?

My professional career is within the transport planning industry; specialising in the planning of development and the assessment of people movements to/from/within these developments which include leisure and retail, employment, and residential. 

I had the opportunity to undertake a Master’s degree in Transport Planning and Practice at the University of Surrey, that was taught by professionals from within the industry to cover a range of modules that reflected industry areas and best practice. This was really helpful to put the wider transport industry into perspective and open my knowledge to areas beyond development planning itself. 

Academic studies are helpful, but my progress through the industry has been mapped out by the opportunities available within an SME environment. From an early stage in my career, I was attending meetings and being exposed to external clients, teams and the general public. These opportunities allow for rapid learning and development of skills and experience. I’ve worked for 4 SME’s in my career and they all have all contributed towards this and continue to do so today.  

A short summary of your role (what you are responsible for, what you might do in a typical week)

I am responsible for a regional office at mode, so I have a varied role where no two days are the same. 

I’m still involved in project work and liaise regularly with Clients as well as briefing and mentoring my team to deliver projects to a high standard. Building relationships and bringing in work is a key part of my day to day activities. 

I now also have responsibilities relating to HR, finance and management as well as contributing to the wider marketing and research goals of the business. This year, we’re looking at giving back to the community and I’m really excited to be working with some local charities as part of our day to day operation. 

What skills and characteristics do you need for this role, apart from geographical knowledge? (For example, communication, leadership, design and creativity etc.)

Transport planning as an industry focuses on the movement of people, by whatever mode of travel, to/from/around a proposed development and considers whether the interaction of the development to the surrounding area will alter the existing movement patterns (and if so, is this a capacity or safety concern). The level of analysis and review depends on the location of the proposed development (urban or rural) and the existing infrastructure available within the location. 

To work in this industry, you need to be adaptable to a range of situations. This can vary from calculating traffic flows and reviewing junctions models, to interacting with the public at exhibitions. The ability to remain calm, work to deadlines and provide common sense advice in a clear and understandable way to your audience are the key skills we would look for.

How does geography feature in your work/what difference does it make?

Transport planning is essentially the planning of the movement of people to/from/within a proposed development. On this basis, the planning of the place and interactions within the surrounding area are key considerations putting geography at the heart of transport planning. 

What do you enjoy most about your job? OR What is the most interesting or enjoyable project you’ve worked on, and why?

Since transport is a fundamental consideration in developments and an emotive factor to the general public, we get involved in all types of developments, which allows for a real diversity in projects coming through the office. Every project is different and needs a slightly different approach, so there is no monotony in our job.  

Do you get to travel for your role? (If yes, tell us where and why)

Yes absolutely. We are required to undertake site visits to potential development sites and all the team involved in the project delivery will come along to the site visit. 

There is also a lot of meetings to attend from design teams (architects, Planning Consultants etc.) and meetings with our counterparts in the representative Highway Authority. Other aspects such as Travel Forums or Public Exhibitions also require travel to the location of the development. 

What are the opportunities for career progression? Where might you be in five years’ time?

In an SME a Transport Planning Consultant can progress through the industry based on their skills and personal development, there is no ceiling or fixed grade time periods. The benefit of an SME is the ability to be involved in a range of areas throughout the lifespan of a project resulting in a high-level of exposure from an early stage in ones career. 

What advice would you give to someone wanting to go into this career?

Look into the profession and search for local transport planning consultancies. We regularly get asked for work experience opportunities and we also work with Santander Universities to deliver internships. There are lots of options to trial transport planning or to meet with professionals within the industry. 

How do you maintain your knowledge and interest in geography outside of work? (E.g. through your leisure activities, travel or something else.)

I’ve always enjoyed traveling and exploring, so I do tend to try and squeeze in opportunities for breaks around the country and world whenever I can! My last trip was a road trip through Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina – it’s such a mix of geography disciplines! 

Why did you choose geography? Why should others choose geography?

I’ve always had an interest in geography and I think it stems from a number of excellent teachers at school. I always enjoyed the subject and the real life learning that was required, and this carried me through my academic life. 

Ultimately, you have to choose a subject you enjoy and are interested in. The benefit of geography is that it is so diverse, it offers a lot of different areas to study and work in. 



* This interview was undertaken in 2020 and was correct at the time of publication. Please note that the featured individual may no longer be in role, but the profile has been kept for career pathway and informational purposes.


Job title:
Associate Director, Transport Planning Consultant

Mode Transport Planning

Reading, UK