Transportation Planning Specialist

Virginia Passenger Rail Authority

Richmond, VA

Experience Level: Entry Level

AICP Certification: AICP Preferred

Apply Now

The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) is a political subdivision established by Chapter 1230 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly. VPRA is responsible for promoting, sustaining, and expanding the availability of passenger and commuter rail services in the Commonwealth, including all administrative and fiduciary responsibilities for Virginia's state-supported passenger rail services. The VPRA also provides funding to Virginia Railway Express (VRE) and administers all capital expansion projects, infrastructure, and land acquisitions related to the $3.7 billion Transforming Rail in Virginia initiative, which will double Amtrak and VRE service in Virginia over the next decade. The VPRA acts as a "responsible public entity" for the acquisition, construction, improvement, maintenance, or operation, or any combination thereof, of a "qualifying transportation facility" under the Public­ Private Partnership Act of 1995.

VPRA is recruiting for a Transportation Planning Specialist responsible for performing rail transportation planning work, conducting studies, and performing other planning-related duties in support of passenger rail expansion and enhancement projects in the Commonwealth of Virginia as part of the Transforming Rail in Virginia initiative. This is an exciting opportunity for a junior-level transportation planning professional who wants to contribute significantly to expanding passenger rail transportation in Virginia. Working under the direction of VPRA's Director of Planning, this position provides critical rail planning support work across the Commonwealth for VPRA's planning managers and project delivery teams. This position will also help coordinate VPRA rail planning activities with North Carolina and the District of Columbia.

The responsibilities of the Transportation Planning Specialist will be to:

  • Assist with management of early project development activities, including scoping, performing feasibility analyses, conducting environmental analyses per NEPA guidelines, budgeting, identifying funding sources, and working with stakeholders.
  • Perform work in accordance with NEPA & Section 106, including mitigation tracking and implementation, public outreach, and required NEPA actions, as assigned.
  • Serve as the VPRA point person for project stakeholders, including agreements, permits, right-of-way acquisition, and real estate interests, as assigned.
  • Support the management of funding agreements, including all related federal, regional, state, and local grant processes and VPRA-led contracts.
  • Provide planning support to the VPRA engineering and construction team for the successful delivery of rail projects being implemented by VPRA, rail partners, and adjacent projects.
  • Assist with developing and executing public outreach and project-related communications for assigned projects.
  • Participate in the preparation, analysis, management, and administration of state and federal grants and special studies as directed.
  • Gather and analyze data; conduct research; prepare and submit related applications, documentation, and reports.
  • Represent VPRA and coordinate with diverse constituencies, including government officials, agency partners, project partners, other stakeholders, and the public.
  • Participate in statewide and regional planning councils and represent VPRA at transportation planning events and meetings.
  • Provide inputs and conduct analysis related to the development, review, amendment, and evaluation of transportation planning documents such as the TIP and CLRP, as well as other statewide and regional planning documents related to passenger rail within the Commonwealth.
  • Conduct GIS analysis and create maps as assigned to support rail planning and project development activities.

Minimum Qualifications

  • BS/BA degree in transportation planning or a closely related field.
  • Knowledge of regional transportation planning principles, methods, and activities.
  • Knowledge of the project development process for transportation infrastructure projects.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively about complex technical material related to transportation planning orally and in writing.
  • Knowledge of planning scopes of work such as feasibility studies, NEPA analysis, technical analysis related to transportation development plans, and similar technical documents.
  • Ability to research and prepare technical reports for senior management, regional bodies, governmental officials, and various committees, boards, and commissions.
  • Involvement with taking a transportation infrastructure project through the NEPA process.
  • Knowledge of project scoping, budgeting, and scheduling processes.
  • Ability to successfully collaborate with consultants providing planning, environmental, project management, and program management support.
  • Knowledge of federal, state, regional, and local transportation planning policies, procedures, activities, and reporting requirements.
  • Knowledge of Federal USDOT grant programs, including applications, awards, and compliance with grant requirements.
  • Ability to work under pressure and multi-task in a fast-paced environment.
  • Ability to work independently with minimal guidance.
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively as a team member and problem solver in an organization with a diverse staff and customer base.
  • Demonstrated proficiency using computer software including Microsoft Office (PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Project), Internet Explorer, and Adobe Acrobat.
  • Knowledge, skills, and experience that demonstrates the ability to conduct GIS analysis and create maps.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Minimum of 2 years of professional transportation planning experience.
  • Advanced Degree in Planning or a closely related field from an accredited college
  • American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Certification

Are you interested in this position, but you don't meet every single requirement? At VPRA, we are dedicated to building a talented team and an inclusive, authentic workplace. So, if you are excited about this role but your experience doesn't align perfectly with every qualification in the job posting, we encourage you to apply anyway. You may be the right candidate for this or another position at VPRA.

Applicants must fully and accurately represent their qualifications and work history on the application or resume. The decision to interview an applicant is based on the information provided in the application, resume, or other relevant documents; therefore, applicants need to supply detailed information. Submitting an incomplete application/resume or an application/resume lacking in detail may impact your interview eligibility. This website will confirm receipt when the application is submitted successfully. Reasonable accommodations are available to individuals with disabilities during the application and interview processes per the Americans with Disabilities Act. VETERANS, PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES, AMERICORPS, PEACE CORPS, AND OTHER NATIONAL SERVICE ALUMNI ARE ENCOURAGED TO APPLY. Equal Opportunity Employer

Posted January 30, 2023, 2:33 PM PST

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