Aspiring transportation planners can gain practical experience while still in school through an internship, where grant proposals and reports would have to be researched and written and maps drawn. A bachelor's degree in logistics, civil engineering, planning, economics, geography, public policy, or a related field is often necessary. For management or higher positions, a master's degree is usually preferred, and several years of relevant experience may be expected of applicants.
A knowledge of transportation-related laws is beneficial, as well as familiarity with the social and economic conditions of a location. Certification by a professional body is typically required for employement as a transportation planner, as well as extensive knowledge of best practices, cost and benefits in transportation. Excellent oral and written communication, analytical, interpersonal, negotiation, and organizational skills are also other requirements for the job.
In their day-to-day work, complex problems must be solved, which involves identifying priorities. Therefore, understanding and explaining models will be a key aspect in securing the job as a transportation planner. Transportation planners can expect little or no supervision so they must have the quality of being proactive. The need for teamwork involves facilitating collaboration between individuals from many different disciplines, some of whom are of expert stature such as city planners, engineers, and environmental managers. That is why there is a requirement for good leadership skills, self confidence, and the desire to achieve results. Mentoring might be a duty, so aspirants of the job should prepare for it. Since they frequently work with maps, good vision is also required. Because their job can be demanding, transportation planners must be emotionally mature and patient enough to handle the pressures of the job.