Transport Planners of the future go head-to-head at Transport Planning Society Bursary Competition
Joanna Ward, a Principal Transport Planner in our Nottingham office, is passionate about promoting the transportation industry to young people and the career opportunities the field can offer. As a dedicated member of the Transport Planning Society (TPS) for over ten years, Joanna was elected to the position of Board Director three years ago. In 2011, TPS launched an annual Bursary Competition to encourage Young Professional members to submit a thought piece on a hot topic with relevance to transport planning. Since then, the initiative has gone from strength to strength receiving more entries each year.
This year’s theme was ‘Transport Planners and other disciplines – Better together’. Each Professional submitting an idea is supported by a senior TPS member within the profession, and this gives them a unique opportunity to benefit from a wealth of experience and advice.
The value of each bursary is £500 with the best paper receiving an award and an additional £250. The competition is not only providing applicants the chance to expand their knowledge on a chosen topic, it raises their profile within the industry and contributes towards their Professional Development Scheme requirement as well.
As a board member, Joanna thoroughly enjoys helping to coordinate the annual competition. She commented; “It’s a fantastic opportunity for young professionals within the transport planning industry to research and to present their views and findings on our annual discussion topic. I wish something like this had been around when I was starting out. This opens up huge opportunities to have a voice I would encourage anyone to take part.”
The board had the difficult task to review the submissions. Looking for innovative ideas and new perspectives, they picked four successful applicants to present their papers to the panel.
Natasha Smithson of AECOM was the winner of this year’s Bursary of the Year award with her paper entitled ‘Planning New Communities: Finding the balance between the private car use and sustainable transport’. On receiving the award news Natasha said; “It was an invaluable experience taking part in the TPS bursary scheme. It was particularly rewarding to take my research project from an idea through to completion, and gaining a deeper understanding of a topic that I was interested in.”
Lynda Addison, Chair of the TPS, commented; “This is always a lovely competition to facilitate and gives great hope for the future of Transport Planning.”