TRANSPORT PLANNERS are to get an image makeover in a bid to attract more graduates and tackle skill shortages.
The Transport Planning Society (TPS), has brought in public relations agency M&N Associates to portray a career in transport planning as varied, exciting and having a positive effect on people's lives. The TPS is an associated society of the ICE.
M&N is to launch a campaign stressing the profession's reduced emphasis on engineering and its greater focus on interacting with the public.
The TPS's Transport Planning Skills Initiative (TPSI) estimates that local authorities need to increase the number of transport planners by between 50% and 60% over the next three years.
This is because councils are under growing pressure to implement the government's 10 year transport plan. There are currently 3,500 transport planners in local government.
At present, the TPSI expects only 100 people to qualify with a transport-related masters degree and then choose to work in the UK in that time.
But a survey of planners carried out last month by consultant Steer Davies Gleave showed that 85% of transport planners are happy with their chosen career.
Satisfaction increased with seniority, although 75% of the more junior staff were either satisfied or very satisfied. Ninety percent said they expected to finish their careers as transport planners.
'It has been said that transport planning doesn't suffer from a bad image - just a total lack of one, ' said TPSI chairman Keith Mitchell.