News & Views


blog: A year in Transport: What I've Learnt

Author: Abigail Pearson

A year really can fly by. Taking it back to March 2022, I was a fresh graduate who'd moved to a new city and started a new job - all slightly daunting! I joined ITP at the end of the pandemic, still unsure if society would return to 'normal', but sure on one thing, that I wanted to work in the transport planning sector, delivering value to communities, and working with like-minded individuals on real-world projects. Having been at ITP for a year now, it’s the perfect time to reflect on my experiences and share what I've leant so far.

James and Abby

ITP's SUNRISE graduate scheme provides me with the opportunity to complete three 8-month placements across five of ITP’s sectors. The aim of these rotations is to expose graduates to a number of disciplines within transport planning, while receiving intensive training over the course of the scheme to improve our technical abilities and transport knowledge.

My experience so far

First up, Public Transport. This was the first sector I joined and I set off immediately working with various datasets to boost my technical skills in GIS and TRACC which I still use in the work I do today. From exploring methods of data presentation to technical report writing, I assisted on long-term projects including accessibility mapping in Warwickshire and various Bus Service Improvement Plans.

In April, just over a month into working at ITP, I joined Transport for West Midland's (TfWM) Cycling and Walking team on secondment, assisting in the project management of their Cycling for Everyone programme.

This amazing opportunity meant working collaboratively with colleagues from across TfWM, local stakeholders and active travel delivery partners.

Building this knowledge and experience of the Influencing Behaviour sector, whilst still undertaking my role in the public transport team provided me an even wider, more holistic view of the industry.

Sunrise group

My experience so far has challenged me and allowed me to develop key skills from learning how to professionally balance my workloads and time effectively, to broadening my professional network within the industry. It was a huge accomplishment to gain experience in project management despite being so new to the team and being trusted with a high level of responsibility was something I really strived for when looking for a graduate scheme.

The end of the year brought a new challenge; balancing my secondment and the fast-paced world of Development Planning. In this team I've worked on numerous transport assessments, travel plans and technical notes to assist the delivery of future sustainable developments, which has been incredibly exciting to be a part of. I've worked on projects where I've been fortunate to travel to beautiful parts of the country for client meetings, including Derbyshire, Cumbria and more recently Northumbria to introduce new signage strategies at holiday parks. With every project different in some way, I continue to broaden my knowledge and seek to provide innovative solutions to a number of transport challenges that we face.

Microsoft Teams image 5

Alongside my graduate scheme, I have been pursuing personal interests that align with my values. This includes contributing to projects that really interest me and leading community-focused initiatives such as World Clean Up Day 2022, where I co-led a litter pick and brought together colleagues from across the business at ITP and Royal HaskoningDHV to enhance society together.

The flexibility of the SUNRISE scheme means I'm often working across teams and this is something I was really seeking in a graduate scheme, to gain a breadth of experience across transport planning.

Moving forward

One thing I’ve learnt at ITP is that opportunities for professional development are endless. I have part ownership of my self-development and am continually supported in my learning journey. As someone who wanted to pursue a career in transport planning, but didn’t undertake a specific degree in the sector, I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the Principles of Traffic and Transport Evening Lecture Series (PTRC) which introduced the key components of transport planning and traffic engineering, bringing me up to speed (pun intended) with the transport industry. To broaden my understanding of traffic signal legislation, modelling and design I've also attended a two-day Introduction to Traffic Signals course, which has proven particularly beneficial to the projects I am working on in the Development Planning team.

In the coming months I look forward to expanding my transport knowledge and network further by attending several conferences including the Mobility Hub Conference and CIHT’s Emerging Professionals Conference.

As my graduate scheme continues, I look forward to broadening my knowledge of the diverse transport issues we face every day.

I’m so excited for what’s to come and to continue developing both professionally and personally, as well as rightfully celebrate ITPs 25th Birthday this year with colleagues across the business, reflecting on the past and looking forward to the future!

Birmingham Cake

My final note is to share three key tips on being an ITP graduate:

  • There is no such thing as a stupid question, really! Everyone is still learning! It is a risk not to ask questions as this will limit yourself from developing which is the key to success.
  • Get involved at every opportunity. This applies to project work and events held externally. Broadening your network and gaining cross sector experience is one of the best things you can do to professionally develop as a graduate. Be aware of your strengths but push yourself to improve on all skills.
  • Be open about what you want to learn. Sharing your interests and taking ownership of your development is so important to ensure you don’t restrict your growth.

We're always looking for bright and ambitious people to join our team. If you like the sound of being part of the ITP team, please check out our current vacancies, or get in touch with Jim Bradley for an informal discussion.


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