How Do I Become a Transportation Planner?

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  • Written By: M. Kayo
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 06 April 2020
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Becoming a transportation planner requires at least a bachelor's degree in transportation logistics or other related area of study. Knowledge of the logistics programs used in the transportation industry is also an important. Likewise, anyone who wants to become a transportation planner should have some familiarity with the various modes of freight carrier operations, and experience through previous employment or internships is something employers look for in those wanting to become a transportation planner.

If you want to become a transportation planner you generally must obtain a college degree, usually a bachelor's degree or higher, in environmental science, civil engineering, logistics, supply chain management, or transportation planning. The type of degree needed for this job should include coursework in intermodal, air, and maritime transportation as well as logistics. Global standards and the latest transportation logistics technology should also be a large part of the coursework.

Knowledge of and prior experience with long-range transportation planning and the analysis of associated costs and scheduling is a important aspect of transportation planning. Familiarity with the various modes of transportation is also essential. The ability to work alongside and under the oversight of various government regulatory agencies and officials at all levels is also an important aspect of this job. Developing and implementing any type of long-range transportation plans for a company or organization may also be a big part of this position.


If you're on the career path to become a transportation planner, you will need an extensive knowledge of the software that allows the transportation industry to run smoothly and expeditiously. Most companies or organizations in this industry use programs that help develop transportation simulations, monitor fuel usage, adjust for seasonal freight capacities, and track transit times. Other programs develop and maintain daily and weekly fuel stabilization and usage reports, provide proactive monitoring of various modes of transport, and track shipping exceptions that need to be expedited through alternate means of transport. The specific types of transport logistics programs may vary, but the standard word-processing and spreadsheet programs should be included in the list of must-know programs if you want to become a transport planner.

If you want to become a transportation planner, previous work experience is a critical requirement, as the knowledge and skills necessary for the job are learned largely through experience and on-the-job training. For management positions, most employers will look for several year's experience in transportation logistic, load planning, fleet management, vehicle cube utilization, hazardous materials regulations. Previous experience in monitoring the performance of service provided by specialty freight carriers, loading dock operations, and shipping and receiving activities is also helpful


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