What is a Transportation Engineer?

A Transportation Engineer is an engineer that designs or improves transportation systems to allow for safe and efficient traffic flow on roadways, airplanes, trains, ships, buses, and more.

What Does a Transportation Engineer Do?

Transport Engineers focus on designing new transportation systems and infrastructures, including highways, airports, trains, bridges, etc. They do this by analyzing data, identifying problems, and solving them with innovative solutions. Solving these complex problems typically requires the collection and evaluation of systems, traffic flow, accidents, costs, and other statistics. Transport Engineers may also be required to collaborate with other parties on certain projects, including utility companies and government departments.

Where Does a Transport Engineer Work?

Most Transport Engineers spend the majority of their workday in an office environment. They must be proficient in using various pieces of office equipment, including email, telephone, and various computer software programs. However, a Transportation Engineer may sometimes be required to visit construction sites to evaluate and oversee the progress of work. When working on site, they must be able to endure adverse weather conditions and noisy machinery. Transportation Engineers work full-time schedules, though many work overtime if they are involved in directing or overseeing projects.

What Is the Average Transportation Engineer Salary?

Transport Engineers earn an average of $79,340 a year. The lowest 10% make around $51,280, while the highest 10% earned around $122,020. Most Transport Engineers work for private architectural or engineering firms, with a smaller percentage working for the state and local governments.

StateTotal EmploymentBottom 25%Median SalaryTop 75%
Alabama3,440$53,060$68,380$89,480
Alaska1,100$81,640$96,680$115,450
Arizona5,580$61,830$78,440$102,210
Arkansas1,270$54,260$70,050$88,950
California37,900$78,580$95,940$113,990
Colorado6,420$64,960$79,860$98,260
Connecticut3,350$69,470$83,040$97,130
Delaware710$64,270$75,410$93,430
District of Columbia1,110$68,580$84,820$101,450
Florida12,920$61,950$79,350$97,550
Georgia6,200$56,290$77,610$104,780
Guam260$41,150$53,410$73,330
Hawaii2,070$63,220$77,510$93,230
Idaho1,260$61,260$72,640$89,440
Illinois9,290$66,900$83,700$105,000
Indiana2,740$55,510$69,380$85,610
Iowa2,020$61,680$78,230$94,660
Kansas1,600$61,070$72,440$86,740
Kentucky2,620$57,520$72,060$89,090
Louisiana4,130$69,960$87,650$108,130
Maine970$57,410$69,460$86,070
Maryland6,930$64,430$79,720$104,120
Massachusetts6,250$62,330$76,420$96,060
Michigan5,960$55,700$68,450$82,570
Minnesota3,800$64,420$78,030$94,230
Mississippi1,710$57,540$73,750$93,320
Missouri3,980$56,090$68,380$84,590
Montana1,290$54,120$64,370$78,000
Nebraska1,530$59,310$76,890$93,430
Nevada1,770$65,780$84,860$108,200
New Hampshire1,100$57,080$70,180$84,850
New Jersey6,720$70,110$88,580$109,930
New Mexico1,190$61,220$75,020$89,480
New York12,800$67,520$82,750$105,140
North Carolina7,670$59,990$72,930$90,210
North Dakota950$55,460$68,810$84,850
Ohio7,200$57,900$72,920$89,010
Oklahoma1,970$63,220$81,990$105,300
Oregon4,310$62,660$76,620$94,590
Pennsylvania12,550$60,750$75,040$95,830
Puerto Rico2,220$35,700$48,660$66,310
Rhode Island690$70,310$87,220$103,560
South Carolina5,920$51,600$70,940$95,320
South Dakota990$53,900$64,140$76,820
Tennessee4,400$65,820$84,850$107,810
Texas23,550$68,040$87,450$121,430
Utah3,060$62,020$74,340$92,120
Vermont500$55,820$67,850$83,120
Virginia8,210$63,060$78,140$98,190
Washington11,830$67,460$81,430$99,670
West Virginia1,290$49,690$65,980$81,710
Wisconsin4,460$57,910$70,330$86,670
Wyoming920$59,250$70,800$83,460

Table data taken from BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes172051.htm)

What Is the Job Demand for Transportation Engineers?

The job demand for Transport Engineers is expected to increase by 20% in the next 10 years, which is much faster than the average occupation. New jobs will be generated by an ever-growing population and aging infrastructure, which will require maintenance and perhaps complete revamping. In addition, the new interest in discovering and proliferating renewable energy resources will produce brand new transportation infrastructures in certain regions.

What Transportation Engineering Degree Options Exist?

Transport Engineers must have a bachelor's degree from an ABET-accredited program in civil engineering at minimum. This is essential to obtaining licensure, which is required in all states. To obtain a license, most must pass several official examinations, participate in a few internships, and obtain adequate amounts of work experience.

Many Transport Engineers go on to obtain their master's degree, which can be helpful for obtaining higher paying management positions.

Transportation Engineering Related Degrees

What Kind of Societies and Professional Organizations Do Transportation Engineers Have?


Transport Engineers can browse through these organizations and websites for valuable resources:

  • Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) is an international professional organization that brings Transportation Engineers together for the sake of dialogue, policy development, and the general exchange of information. Aside from numerous meetings and industry-specific resources, ITE also offers an employment center that can help prospective Transport Engineers find a job.
  • AASHTO is a non-profit group that represents all of the highway and transportation departments in the United States. This resource can be extremely helpful for keeping up on the latest transportation news and developments in the United Stated.
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Though this professional organization more generally applies to civil engineers, they can also provide very useful information for Transport Engineers as well. ASCE encourages communication between civil engineers from different disciplines and also hosts professional events around the world. They are also a fantastic resource for continuing education and accessing industry-specific publications.