The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE)

The Institute of Transportation Engineers is an international educational and scientific association of transportation professionals who are responsible for meeting mobility and safety needs. ITE facilitates the application of technology and scientific principles to research, planning, functional design, implementation, operation, policy development and management for any mode of ground transportation. Through its products and services, ITE promotes professional development of its members, supports and encourages education, stimulates research, develops public awareness programs and serves as a conduit for the exchange of professional information.

ITE’s Role in the World of Engineering

With many national and state level professional organizations active in Georgia, it is easy for engineers to find a related organization to support their professional development. However, additional work is needed for an individual engineer to find the organization with sufficient breadth and/or focus to meet their needs.

The Institute of Transportation Engineers began with an emphasis on traffic engineering. This starting point has been strengthened as the organization’s members have added transportation planning, traffic operational analysis, and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) as significant areas of focus. Some of our recent national activities emphasize this trend. For example, ITE now provides a certification program for Professional Engineers in traffic operations, referred to as the Professional Traffic Operations Engineers (PTOE) certification. In order to be certified, applicants must have a PE with additional experience. ITE is planning similar certification for other transportation engineers and planners to reflect their levels of expertise. This combination of Engineers and Transportation planners is a unique aspect and strength of ITE.

The Need for Transportation Engineers Continues

Each year more people and freight are moved along the US transportation network than in the year before. This growth in mobility has occurred hand in hand with growth in the US economy. Every year we travel more miles on our roads for each person in the US and we do so with fewer fatal crashes. Transportation Engineers have been a part of this success story. Although safety shows steady improvement, there is more work to be done, as the number of traffic fatalities nationwide remains over 40,000 per year.

As transportation safety affects our lives, the available modes of transportation (automobile, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian) and relationship between transportation and land use effect the way our communities our built. Transportation engineers in concert with land use planners, and commercial developers, will play a key role in determining the urban landscape of the 21st century.

Transportation Engineering includes high profile projects such as the “big dig” in Boston, MA and Ravenel Bridge in Charleston, SC. It also includes equally important projects within communities to provide balanced transportation systems, intersection improvements, and necessary roadway expansion. The infusion of technology into traditional transportation systems is referred to as Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). This field recognizes the importance of using information on traffic conditions to better control traffic signal systems on “smart corridors” as well as providing information to motorists, so they can select an optimum route. Other applications aid incident response and clearance.

As growth in the urbanized areas of the US continues, the need for transportation engineers will likewise continue. The future of transportation engineering is as varied as the imagination of the young people who will lead this industry into the 21st century.