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Transportation Engineers

History

The field of modern transportation engineering emerged in the 1920s and 1930s, when public transportation started to become more congested due to the growth of automobiles. New highways were being built, adding more cars to the roads and increasing the need for methods and devices to prevent congestion and traffic accidents. As described by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, it was during this time that trained and experienced engineers "worked with distressed municipal officials in seeking palliatives for accidents and congestion, largely concentrating their work in the field of traffic regulatory devices, and roadway design and re-design." Many national and regional conferences raised the awareness of traffic problems, bringing this group of concerned technicians together. 

In 1931, the Institute of Transportation Engineers was established in an effort to facilitate traffic movement and reduce accidents. The main mission of the ITE was to "provide a central agency for correlating and disseminating the factual data and techniques developed by members of the profession, promoting the standards of traffic engineering, and encouraging the establishment of traffic engineering departments in city and state governments whose techniques should make for safer and more efficient highway transportation."

Transportation engineering is a branch of civil engineering. Today's transportation engineers design and improve on the designs of transportation systems and infrastructures for cars, buses, trains, airplanes, ships, highways, roadways, bridges, and more. Ongoing developments in software programs, such as analytical, scientific, and computer-aided design, help them to create transportation plans that are accurate, in compliance with engineering standards, and meet society's current and future transportation needs. 

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