PUBLIC SECT0R: TPS begins hunt for transport planners

A Government-funded campaign to halt a recruitment crisis in transport planning has been launched.

According to the Transport Planning Society, which is managing the campaign, an estimated 1,800 extra transport planners are needed over the next three years if schemes, including traffic calming, congestion charging and bus lanes are to be properly implemented.

This week it was announced that M&N Associates has been hired by the TPS to handle a 12-month PR campaign through its Transport Planning Skills Initiative, to boost recruitment and improve the image of the profession.

M&N senior partner Martin Winch said: 'It is seen as very geeky and academic, but the reality is this is a profession that has a huge impact on people's lives.'

The campaign will begin by targeting the professional and business media with an emphasis on undergraduates and 25 to 28-year-olds looking for a change in career.

In three to six months' time this will be rolled out into the national media. M&N's brief also carries a public affairs element to target, among others, council CEOs and the environmental lobby.

TPS chairman Keith Mitchell, to whom M&N reports, will be used as the main spokesman on the issue but it is hoped that high-profile transport experts such as Gwyneth Dunwoody MP can also be used.

The TPS is funded by the Department of Transport and the regional governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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