• Pranav

Must-Know Domains and Software in Transportation Engineering

Transportation Engineering is a very advanced branch of Civil Engineering that comes across lots of new technology enhancements nowadays. Speaking of the domains, widely we can group them broadly into planning and design.

Broad Domains of Transportation Engineering
Broad Domains of Transportation Engineering

This blog covers the domains and commonly used software in Transportation Engineering. My intention of writing this blog is to make the reader aware of various domains in which they can pursue their career based on their passion, for e.g. I liked the subjects Traffic Engineering, Traffic Simulation, Public Transport and Urban Transport Planning in my M.Tech hence, I decided to go with Transport Planning. Similarly, other domains are discussed in this blog.


We need to select our domain in advance so that we can learn the software used in it and develop our skills in the right direction. The advantage of doing this is we can learn a few software to stand out and get noticed in interviews as compared to our competitors. There is 100+ software used in Transportation Engineering; this blog will help to choose the ones which will be sufficient to pursue your career.


If you are reading this blog, it means that you are passionate about Transportation Engineering and decided to pursue a career in the same. Even in my case after completing my Civil Engineering degree, I made up my mind that I will follow my passion and did Masters in Transportation Engineering from the National Institute of Technology Karnataka. I did an internship with Atkins in the Transport Planning domain, and I am working in WSP since last 2019.


Speaking of the domains, widely we can group them broadly into planning and design. In the design domains, there are lots of sections like Highways Design, Intelligent Transportation System (ITS), Railway Design and various Development, Infrastructure works.

Transport Planning

I will categorize transportation planning into various functions. Simulation, Operational Modelling, Strategic Modelling, Junction Modelling, Geographic Information systems (GIS), etc. are some of the functions in the transportation planning domain.


Operational Modelling/Micro-simulation


The various plenty used software in operational modelling are-

  • PTV VISSIM

  • AIMSUN

  • PARAMICS

There are many more software apart from these used in the industry based on the regions. However, these are the commonly used ones. Few polls were taken on LinkedIn to understand the usage of these, and the results were as below.


150 people voted in the poll in which PTV VISSIM has the highest votes which is about 91% that shows how commonly the software is used for operational modelling projects. The second commonly used software is AIMSUN with about 3% votes. The third commonly used software is PARAMICS with approximately 2% votes. 4% of the votes were for other software together.


Strategic modelling


Important Software used in various strategic modelling projects are-

  • PTV VISUM

  • SATURN

  • TransCAD

The poll conducted on LinkedIn to get an idea about the usage of software for strategic modelling returned with the following results:

126 people voted in the poll in which PTV VISUM has the highest votes which is about 83% that shows how commonly the software is used for strategic modelling projects. The second commonly used software is SATURN with about 7% votes. The third commonly used software is TransCAD with approximately 4% votes. The other software includes CUBE and EMME which had about 6% of the votes together.


Junction modelling

  • LinSig

  • SIDRA

  • JUNCTIONS

The poll conducted on LinkedIn to get an idea about the usage of junction modelling software returned with the following results:

62 people voted in the poll in which SIDRA has the highest votes which is about 71% that shows how commonly the software is used for junction modelling projects. The second commonly used software is LinSig with about 23% votes. The third commonly used software is JUNCTIONS with approximately 3% votes. The other software includes SYNCHRO which has about 3% of the votes.


GIS

  • QGIS

  • ArcGIS

The poll conducted on LinkedIn to get an idea about the usage of software for GIS returned with the following results:


142 people voted in the poll of which ArcGIS has the highest votes which is about 58%. The second commonly used software is QGIS with about 39% votes. QGIS is open-source software, which means it can be downloaded and used for free. 2% of the votes were for other software together.


General

  • Microsoft Excel (Highly used): Irrespective of which field or domain you will be working in, Microsoft Excel will be highly used. Hence, it is a good idea to make sure that you are at least at the intermediate level in excel.

  • Python - Programming Language (Used for automation of tasks) considering the speed at which we are heading towards the automation of tasks in the industry, we need to make sure we catch up with the speed. In order to do that, knowing a programming language is a must. Python is the easiest and commonly used language to automate tasks and reduce the timelines of the projects significantly.

  • Google Earth

Which software interests you the most?

Highways


Geometric design: The following software are used

  • Autodesk Civil 3D

  • Open roads Designer

  • Novapoint

The poll conducted on LinkedIn to get an idea about the usage of software for geometric design returned with the following results:

140 people voted in the poll in which Autodesk Civil 3D has the highest votes which is about 79%. The second commonly used software is Open roads Designer with about 19% votes. The other software includes MX Roads which has about 3% of the votes together.


Surface modelling: Civil 3D, Microstation, Power Civil are used.

Inception and feasibility stages of projects: Autodesk Infraworks is plentily used.

Point cloud and laser data editing: Autodesk Recap

Comparing of BIM solids & extracted solids of the corridor, clash detection and comparing sections of solids: Autodesk Navisworks. Creating XML surfaces from point cloud data: Microstation, Terrasolid and Terrascan are used


Intelligent Transport System (ITS)


System and Infrastructure​: AutoCAD 2D, Civil 3D​, Trimble Amtech Pro (For power calculations​), Google Earth Pro (For site locations​), Batch Covert Tool(For latitude, longitude, X & Y coordinates)

Lighting and Energy Solutions:​ AutoCAD 2D, Civil 3D, Navisworks (clash analysis ​), Lighting reality (outdoor lighting and Lux calculation​), Reality Roadway (Long straight stretch schemes, Trimble Amtech Pro (only for UK BS standards​), Dilux (Indoor lighting, closed parking and temperature, a heat map and colour rendering maps​)


Operation and Safety​: Customized excel Macros, Mata Data TCD files​, Customized Tools (generate reports on safety, hazardous, accidents and traffic signal jumping.)


General​: BIM 360, Microsoft excel​


Development & Infrastructure

  • Civil 3D: PDS lines, PDS Sign

  • AutoCAD

  • MicroDrainage

Rail

  • Overhead line equipment (OLE): Microstation, AutoCAD

  • Signalling: Microstation, AutoCAD

  • General: Revit, BIM 360, Naviswork, Civil 3D


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Thank you so much for giving it a read. APSEd wishes you all the very best in your career. ahead.

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