Transportation Engineering

busy city street at night

What is Transportation Engineering?

Transportation engineering covers all aspects of transportation related issues, from determining the future transportation needs of a community or country through to the performance of the materials that are used to construct roads. All modes of travel are covered, from pedestrians/cyclists to cars/trucks to buses/trains to ships and planes (although our programmes at Canterbury largely deal with land transport).

Postgraduate qualifications in Transportation Engineering are provided in collaboration with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Auckland.

Students are able to take:

Qualifications can be undertaken either full-time or by part-time study. Most courses are taught in 'block mode', allowing working candidates and those from outside Christchurch to complete their studies while remaining in full-time employment. For more infromation about the study options see the Postgraduate Transportation Programme page.

The Department has a comprehensive range of physical laboratory and field equipment for transport teaching and research, as well as a full suite of relevant software.

Transportation Laboratory Equipment

  • Bitumen viscosity, aging and penetration test equipment
  • British Pendulum Skid Resistance tester
  • Polished Stone Tester (accelerated weathering of sealing chips)
  • Gyratory and Marshall compaction of asphaltic concrete specimens
  • Indirect Tensile Modulus and creep testing of asphaltic concrete specimens
  • Vibratory compaction of unbound granular material specimens
  • Repeated Load Triaxial Testing of unbound granular specimens
  • Loadman Portable Falling Weight Deflectometer device
  • Real-time Traffic monitoring suite
  • MetroCount traffic counting and speed measuring equipment
  • Autoscope vehicle image processing camera
  • Handheld laser speed gun
  • TIRTL infrared traffic logger
  • Psion handheld data collection devices
  • Various other traffic measurement equipment (tubes, lasers, etc)Inside the transportation laboratory

Note: Some of this equipment is available for hire by consultants; contact the Lab Manager for further details.

Transportation Computer Software Available

  • PLUTO - analysis of transport policy options
  • TransCAD - GIS modelling of transport networks
  • SATURN - mesoscopic simulation and assignment of traffic in road networks
  • Paramics - microscopic simulation and visualisation of individual vehicles in road networks
  • SIDRA - analysis of intersection performance (priority/roundabout/signalised)
  • CAS - NZ Transport Agency crash database analysis and reporting
  • TRARR - rural road traffic simulation
  • TRIPS, TRACKS, QRS - macroscopic transport network planning
  • IHSDM - safety modelling of highway geometric designs
  • EEM - NZ Transport Agency project economic evaluation
  • ABAQUS - finite element modelling of pavements
  • CIRCLY - elastic analysis of pavement layers
  • 12D - geometric road design and layout

Canterbury Accelerated Testing Indoor Facility (CAPTIF)

A full scale indoor pavement testing facility, operated in partnership with New Zealand Transport Agency

Full-time students are also provided with a range of other facilities within the Department.

The following academic staff members teach transportation engineering courses within the department:

  • Mehdi Keyvan Ekbatani
  • Dr Diana Kusumastuti
  • Professor Alan Nicholson
  • Associate Prof. Mofreh Saleh (Programme Director)

Previous transport staff

  • Dr Glen Koorey (Planning Design)
  • Dr Bryan Pidwerbesky (Fulton Hogan)
  • Dr Shane Turner (Beca).

There is some teaching teamwork with the transportation engineering staff at the University of Auckland, assisting with teaching in each other's courses.

Canterbury University is fortunate to be able to invite many respected overseas academics to visit here, many courtesy of the Erskine Programme. In recent years, the transportation programme has included teaching by:

  • Prof Sue McNeil (Univ of Delaware) - Infrastructure asset maintenance and management, Disaster planning
  • Assoc. Prof Susan Tighe (Univ of Waterloo, Canada) - Pavement design and road asset maintenance and management
  • Professor Essam Radwan (Univ of Centrla Florida, Orlando) - Highway geometric design, driving simulation
  • Professor Bhagwant Persaud (Ryerson University, Toronto) - Road safety, Statistical methods, Highway design
  • Professor Michael Taylor (Univ of South Australia) - Traffic engineering, Intelligent Transport Systems, Simulation modeling
  • Assoc. Prof Shalom Hakkert (Technion Institute, Israel) - Accident analysis, road safety systems, Treatment of hazardous locations
  • Professor David Boyce (Univ of Illinois, Chicago) - Urban and regional transportation planning; Dynamic transportation system models for planning intelligent transportation systems
  • Professor Martin Snaith (Univ of Birmingham) - Pavement design and road asset maintenance and management
  • Professor Nick Garber (Univ of Virginia) - Traffic operations and highway safety, Speed management
  • Professor Michael Bell (Imperial College, London) - Transport network reliability, Intelligent Transport Systems

A number of local industry experts also assist with the teaching in the programme. We are grateful for their time and assistance.

National Transportation Organisations

Universities and Other Transport Education Providers

Traffic/transportation engineers and other transport professionals undertake a broad range of duties, all in some way related to transport. These can include:

  • Designing new roads and other transport networks (e.g. rail, ports/airports)
  • Providing for sustainable transport modes (e.g. walking, cycling, public transport)
  • Investigating, auditing and fixing road safety problems
  • Maintaining and improving existing transport networks
  • Predicting future effects of land use and transport changes
  • Planning and undertaking traffic/transport surveys
  • Modelling the operation of traffic networks
  • Planning and managing freight and public transport operations
  • Undertaking research into transportation problems

Transportation practitioners are in great demand by consulting firms and government bodies in both New Zealand and around the world.

To find out more about some of the opportunities and challenges of being a roading/transport engineer, check out the KiwiCareers website.

Transportation Employers in New Zealand

The list below is not exhaustive. See also our page of transportation links, which includes many national agencies. If you know of other employers feel free to let us know.

Main NZ Transportation Consultants & Researchers:

  • Abley Transportation Consultants
  • AECOM (ex Maunsell)
  • Arup
  • Aurecon (ex Connell Wagner)
  • Beca
  • Bloxam Burnett & Olliver
  • CPG Global (ex Duffill Watts)
  • Flow Transportation Specialists
  • Gabites Porter
  • GHD
  • McCormick Rankin Cagney
  • MWH NZ
  • Opus
  • Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • Resolve Group
  • SKM (Sinclair Knight Merz)
  • TERNZ Transport Research
  • Traffic Design Group
  • URS Consultants
  • ViaStrada

There are also many smaller transportation consulting firms and sole practitioners.

Major NZ Transportation Contractors & Suppliers

  • 3M NZ
  • CSP Pacific
  • Downer (ex Works Civil)
  • Fulton Hogan
  • Harding Traffic
  • HEB Construction
  • Higgins Contractors
  • Hiway Group
  • HMI Technologies
  • HTS Group
  • Transfield Services NZ

Most local and regional councils also employ transportation staff.

For advice

Mofreh Saleh

Director of Transportation Engineering
Civil & Natural Resources Engineering E405
Internal Phone: 95118

Postgraduate Administrator

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