Transportation Planner

Santa Barbara County Association of Governments

Santa Barbara, CA

Experience Level: Entry Level

Salary: View compensation at

Apply Now

This position has Telework work options - must work some hours each week at office location.

*All applicants must submit application at










Under general supervision or direction, performs professional and technical support for transportation planning programs; researches, analyzes, interprets and prepares reports addressing transportation-related needs; develops and completes technical assessments and written project and program analyses; coordinates projects and programs with other SBCAG staff and member jurisdictions, regional transportation agencies, and state agencies; and performs related work as required.


Transportation Planner I and Transportation Planner II receive direct or general supervision from assigned supervisor.  Senior Transportation Planner and Principal Transportation Planner receive general direction from assigned supervisor. 

Transportation Planner II, Senior, and Principal Transportation Planners may be assigned to serve as lead or project manager which involves exercising direct and general supervision over assigned team members and/or consultants.

Class Characteristics

Transportation Planner I – This is the first level class in the Transportation Planner series. Initially, under more direct supervision, incumbents in this class learn to provide professional transportation planning support.  As incumbents’ breadth of knowledge and experience increases and their assigned responsibilities increase, the incumbents may be considered for movement to the higher class of Transportation Planner II.  Positions at this level usually perform most of the duties required of the positions at the Planner ll level but are not expected to function with the same amount of program or project knowledge or skill level as positions allocated to the Planner ll level and exercise less independent discretion and judgment in matters related to work procedures and methods.  Assignments and objectives are set for the employee and established work methods are followed. Incumbents have some flexibility in the selection of steps and timing of work processes.

Transportation Planner II – This is the fully competent level class in the Transportation Planner series.  Incumbents perform the full spectrum of professional transportation planning duties including providing technical and policy-related research and analysis on transportation planning and programming issues and managing planning studies, projects, and programs, as well as overseeing member jurisdiction relationships.  Positions at this level receive only occasional instruction or assistance as new or unusual situations arise and are fully aware of the operating procedures and policies of assigned projects, programs, and team(s).  Assignments are given with general guidelines and incumbents are responsible for establishing objectives, timelines, and methods to deliver work products.  Work is typically reviewed upon completion for soundness, appropriateness, and conformity to policy and requirements, and the methodology used in arriving at the end results is not reviewed in detail.

Senior Transportation Planner – This is the senior level in the transportation planner class series.  Incumbents serve as a technical expert using initiative and resourcefulness in researching trends and patterns to develop new methods, criteria, or proposed new policies and procedures.  Positions at this level require significant experience that enables them to represent SBCAG on a regular basis to the Board, other public agencies, private and community organizations, regulatory and governmental agencies, and the public.  Positions in this class are typically assigned to lead projects, programs, studies, or initiatives that involve contact outside of the agency and the ability to manage multiple stakeholder interests, require a high level of expertise in support of management and/or Board priorities, strategic initiatives, and directives, and are of high visibility and sensitivity to SBCAG in areas of its core business initiatives.  The work involves a high-level of problem-solving requiring analysis of unique issues or problems.  Work assignments are typically given as broad, conceptual ideas and directives and incumbents are accountable for overall results and responsible for developing guidelines, action plans, and methods to produce deliverables on time and within budget.

Principal Transportation Planner – This is the advanced, highest level classification in the Transportation Planner series that manages transportation planning projects and/or programming function(s).  The work has a focus beyond the county and incumbents work collaboratively with other similar organizations, as well as state agencies, in coordinating and planning regional projects including financial, legislative, policy and project management aspects.  Responsibilities include performing diverse, specialized, and complex work involving significant accountability and decision-making responsibility.  The incumbent organizes and participates in activities and operations of transportation planning, including short- and long-term project planning and development and administration of funding for projects and studies.  Successful performance of the work requires an extensive professional transportation planning background as well as skill in coordinating work with that of other SBCAG divisions and outside public agencies. 

Examples of TYPICAL JOB FUNCTIONS (Illustrative Only)

Management reserves the right to add, modify, change, or rescind the work assignments of different positions and to make reasonable accommodations so that qualified employees can perform the essential functions of the job.


  • Performs technical and policy related research on transportation planning issues; researches, analyzes, and prepares planning-level reports that identify needs and addresses concerns raised by stakeholders.  
  • Conducts or participates in studies in support of SBCAG programs and projects; researches and analyzes planning and technical data; consults with SBCAG staff, management, and outside agencies; develops recommendations for operational, policy, and/or program changes.
  • Authors technical reports including the preparation of conclusions, recommendations, and forecasts for management, the Board, and member jurisdictions.
  • Attends and represents SBCAG in meetings with member jurisdictions and external stakeholders; responds to and resolves inquiries and complaints.
  • Coordinates assigned projects, programs, and activities with other SBCAG projects, programs, and activities as well as with member jurisdictions, external organizations, and the general public.
  • Ensures that consultants are adhering to budgets and schedules on projects.
  • Monitors opportunities at the state and federal level for funding for development and delivery of transportation projects and programs.
  • Examines potential policy changes by researching and consulting with experts to determine potential implications of policy changes that may affect SBCAG and member agencies.
  • Prepares short-term and long range transportation plans and studies.
  • Provides technical assistance to local agencies in designing, implementing and monitoring transit systems.
  • Reviews local programs and projects for consistency with regional transportation plans and any statewide plans.
  • Attends and participates in professional group meetings; stays abreast of new trends, technologies, and innovations in the functional area(s) of assignment and issues related to area of assignment.
  • Administers and manages a variety of transportation and transit-related grant programs.
  • Administers and manages a variety of programs, such as the Federal Transportation Improvement Program.
  • Maintains awareness of federal, state, and local regulations; analyzes federal, state, and local legislative proposals for impact on assigned programs, projects, and studies.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

In addition to the above, the Transportation Planner II:

  • Individually or as a team lead, manages assigned studies, projects, programs, and initiatives; develops work plans consisting of mission, objectives, scope of work, budget, schedules, baseline requirements, and implementation strategies; identifies strategic, project management, and external issues, recommends solutions, and implements solutions to manage risks and issues.
  • Collects data and performs technical analysis and prepares reports on a variety of transportation-related issues, such as including noise and safety analysis and subsequent mapping for airport land use planning, obtaining traffic counts and determining congestion levels on regionally-significant streets, obtaining operation information to determine transit trends for various transit planning purposes, etc.
  • Tracks and reports status on a variety of programs and relevant topics such as new state and federal legislation.
  • Develops consultant requests for proposals for professional services and administers the advertising and bid processes; evaluates proposals and recommends project award; negotiates contracts and agreements and administers same after award.
  • Makes presentations to the public, community groups, various commissions and committees, and elected boards.
  • Represents SBCAG on committees and task forces to develop, implement, and monitor programs and projects that impact SBCAG and its member jurisdictions.

In addition to the above, the Senior Transportation Planner:


  • Provides leadership and technical guidance in assigned area of responsibility using initiative and resourcefulness in analyzing unique issues or problems without precedent and/or structure; researches trends and patterns to develop new standards, models, methods, criteria, or proposed new policies and procedures related to assigned area of responsibility; oversees quality assurance and quality control activities within area(s) of expertise.
  • Performs funding/grant development and administration, including conducting grant research, writing proposals, and programming and administering awarded grant funds.
  • Makes presentations to the Policy Board and advisory committees related to assigned projects, programs, and services.
  • Manages relationships with member jurisdictions to effectively carry out the development and management of transportation projects and initiatives; identifies planning needs and interests; ensures that member jurisdictions are aware of funding opportunities and advises on eligible projects; mediates the relationship between member jurisdictions, funding agencies, and other state and federal agencies.

In addition to the above, the Principal Transportation Planner:

  • Plans, manages, and oversees operations, and activities of transportation planning and programming for a wide range of complex transportation plans, programs, projects, and studies in an independent manner.
  • Manages and participates in the development and implementation of goals, objectives, policies, and priorities for assigned function(s), programs, and projects; recommends and administers policies and procedures.
  • Serves as project manager on significant transportation planning and development projects, including overseeing application and plan review, coordination with project applicants and agencies, background research, environmental review, preparation of public notices and staff reports, scheduling meetings and hearings, and monitoring project implementation to verify conformance with approved plans, grant/loan requirements, conditions, and mitigation measures.
  • Participates in regional and statewide organizations and groups.
  • Provides strategic approaches and builds critical relationships with agencies and representatives throughout the state to build support for SBCAG’s projects, programs and initiatives.
  • Manages, reviews, and presents complex transportation planning studies; conducts site and policy background research to obtain information for the preparation of staff reports, correspondence, memoranda, policy and procedure documents, and presentations to management or governing bodies; reads, interprets, analyzes, and explains a wide variety of technical documents, studies, and practices.
  • Prepares, manages and implements funding programs and projects for SBCAG; Identifies and secures transportation funding to deliver SBCAG-sponsored projects.
  • Develops policy recommendations to the Policy Board relating to high-profile agency activities, in coordination with the Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director(s).
  • Manages relationships between member agencies and State and Federal officials to effectively carry out the implementation and management of transportation plans, programs, and projects; ensures that procedures and information are delivered to the applicants as well as to the State and Federal regulators in a timely fashion.
  • Provides highly complex staff assistance to a Deputy Executive Director; develops staff reports related to planning activities and services; presents information to the Policy Board and various councils, commissions, committees, and boards; supports individual board members in their roles as SBCAG representatives to external organizations, performs a variety of public relations and outreach work related to assigned activities.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


Transportation Planner l:

Knowledge of:


  • Principles, practices, and funding sources for transportation planning programs, studies, and projects.
  • Theories and concepts related to transportation planning.
  • Regional and local transportation planning modeling and analysis tools.
  • Principles and techniques of conducting analytical studies, evaluating alternatives, and making sound recommendations, and preparing and presenting effective and technical reports.
  • Recent and on-going developments, current literature, and sources of information related to assigned programs, projects, and services.
  • Applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulatory codes, ordinances, and procedures relevant to assigned area of responsibility.
  • Record keeping principles and procedures.
  • Modern office practices, methods, and computer equipment and applications related to the work.
  • English usage, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and punctuation.
  • Techniques for providing a high level of customer service by effectively dealing with the public, vendors, contractors, and SBCAG staff.

Ability to:

  • Conduct transportation planning and related research studies in an independent and cooperative manner, evaluate alternatives, make sound recommendations, and prepare effective technical reports.
  • Research, analyze, interpret, summarize, and present technical information and data in an effective manner.
  • Conduct and analyze transportation surveys.
  • Interpret, apply, explain, and ensure compliance with federal, state, and local policies, procedures, laws, and regulations.
  • Prepare clear and effective reports, correspondence, and other written material.
  • Make accurate arithmetic, financial, and statistical computations.
  • Organize own work, set priorities, and meet critical time deadlines.
  • Operate modern office equipment including computer equipment and specialized software applications programs.
  • Use English effectively to communicate in person, over the telephone, and in writing.
  • Use tact, initiative, prudence, and independent judgment within general policy, procedural, and legal guidelines.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.

Transportation Planner ll, in addition to the above:

Knowledge of:


  • Advanced principles, practices, and funding sources for transportation planning programs, studies, and projects.
  • Principles and practices of project and team management, including developing and implementing goals, objectives, scope of work, schedule, and budget and funding allocation.
  • Techniques for effectively representing SBCAG in contacts with governmental agencies, community groups, various business, professional, educational, and regulatory organizations, and the public.

Ability to:

  • Recommend, develop, and implement work plans and effectively manage land use planning studies and projects.
  • Lead assigned team including planning, organizing, directing, and coordinating the work of assigned team members.
  • Effectively represent the team and SBCAG in meetings with member jurisdictions, governmental agencies, community groups, and various businesses, professional, and regulatory organizations and in meetings with individuals.
  • Organize and prioritize a variety of projects and multiple tasks in an effective and timely manner.


Senior Transportation Planner, in addition to the above:

Knowledge of:


  • Expert theories and concepts related to transportation planning, economic, housing, land use, employment, and population forecasting, environmental issues, and implementation strategies.
  • Contract administration, grants administration, and general principles of risk management related to the functions of the assigned area.
  • Principles, practices, and techniques used in the conduct of effective transportation planning program, including project planning, funding and programming, environmental review, contract management, and delivery.

Ability to:

  • Provide leadership and technical guidance as an agency-recognized subject matter expert and advisor in assigned area of responsibility.
  • Prepare complex grant applications and contracts for assigned projects and programs.
  • Effectively represent the team and SBCAG in meetings with the Policy Board.


Principal Transportation Planner, in addition to the above:

Knowledge of:


  • Administrative principles and practices, including goal setting, program development, implementation, and evaluation, and project management.
  • Principles and practices of budget development and administration.
  • Principles and practices of employee supervision, including work planning, assignment, review and evaluation, and the training of staff in work procedures.
  • Organization and management practices as applied to the development, analysis, and evaluation of programs, policies, and operational needs of the assigned functional area.
  • Advanced principles, practices, and funding sources for transportation and land use planning programs, studies, and projects.


Ability to:

  • Administer complex, technical, and sensitive transportation planning and related programs in an independent and cooperative manner.
  • Plan, organize, assign, review, and evaluate the work of staff; train staff in work procedures.
  • Manage and monitor complex projects on-time and within budget.

Education and/or Experience:

Any combination of training and experience that would provide the required knowledge, skills, and abilities is qualifying.  A typical way to obtain the required qualifications would be:

Equivalent to graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with major coursework in planning or a closely related field.

Transportation Planner I: At least one (1) year of transportation planning or related planning experience.

Transportation Planner II: At least three (3) years of increasingly responsible transportation planning experience or two (2) years of experience equivalent to an Assistant Transportation Planner at SBCAG.

Senior Transportation Planner: At least five (5) years of increasingly responsible transportation planning including independently conducting planning studies or project management experience or two (2) years of experience equivalent to Associate Transportation Planner at SBCAG.

Principal Transportation Planner: At least seven (7) years of increasingly responsible transportation planning and/or transit planning or professional experience in or professional experience in planning and/or project management experience or two (2) years of experience equivalent to the Senior Transportation Planner at SBCAG.

Licenses and Certifications:

  • None.


Must possess mobility to work in a standard office setting and use standard office equipment, including a computer; vision to read printed materials and a computer screen; and hearing and speech to communicate in person and over the telephone.  This is primarily a sedentary office classification although standing in and walking between work areas may be required.  Finger dexterity is needed to access, enter, and retrieve data using a computer keyboard or calculator and to operate standard office equipment.  Positions in this classification bend, stoop, kneel, reach, push, and pull drawers open and closed to retrieve and file information.  Employees must possess the ability to lift, carry, push, and pull materials and objects up to 25 pounds.  

Environmental Elements

This is primarily a sedentary classification and the employee works in an office environment with moderate noise levels, controlled temperature conditions, and no direct exposure to hazardous physical substances.  The employee interfaces with staff, management, member jurisdictions, government officials, business representatives, and/or the general public in explaining SBCAG policies and requesting and providing information. 

Posted October 1, 2021, 1:48 PM PDT

Find your next career opportunity in planning and urban design.

Planetizen Courses logo

Planetizen Courses: Online Training in Urban Planning

Access more than 250 urban planning courses on your computer, phone, or tablet. Learn today, plan for tomorrow.

View Courses

Edmonton, Canada

Planetizen AICP Exam Prep Class logo

Planetizen AICP* Exam Prep Class

88% of students who took our class passed the exam and became AICP* certified.

View Class