Transit can mean different things to different people. Urban planners and city officials tend to think of transit as specifically the service or good of public transportation; tax dollars funding mobility for citizens. But logistics engineers look at supplies and goods being moved around in transit, and the same language is used for non-commuting travel (someone flying on American Airlines from Phoenix, Arizona to Washington D.C. is a passenger in transit).
Also, it’s hard to find a sexy-sounding word for the transportation industry. We just don’t get lucky that way, it seems. Instead we can be Planner I or Planner II (or the all-holy Planner IV), like the folks at the end of the credits of a film. We can try to class it up by calling ourselves mobility specialists, but it still all sounds a bit awkward. But “ist” has the connotation of a specialist or expert; economist, psychologist, sociologist, scientist. Actually, to be really good at designing transportation ecosystems you need to be a little bit of all of those things with a dash of urban design thrown in. Thus, the term “transitist”.
So if you’re someone who cares about mobility, transportation, or the flow of people and goods through an urban core and beyond, safe to say you are probably a transitist.
What’s the best way to have a career in transportation or urban planning?
It’s a combination of persistence, dumb luck, and attention to detail. Getting a Master’s degree in Urban Planning is a great start, or you can do an internship with your local city government. Planetizen ranks U.S. urban planning programs annually.
Could I write for Transitist.co too?
Please do! Just send the Queen Editor….uh…original transitist Sigma an email with your proposal for a post and we can get started from there.