What was your path into transport planning?
My first taste of transport planning was through joining the transport planning graduate scheme at Transport for London in 2013, shortly after graduating in Geography from Durham University. It wasn't hard to motivate myself to apply as the lure of working with maps and making a direct impact on the city I lived in was very appealing!
What do you love most about being a transport planner?
I love how dynamic being a transport planner is – there's not one 'type' of transport planner and you can choose which area or discipline you would like to develop further depending on your interests. I also enjoy seeing the impact of my work on the ground. Previously I have worked in the bus transport planning team at TfL where I designed and implemented crowding relief schemes for particular routes, affecting thousands of peoples' journeys every day.
What does a typical day look like for you in your job?'
There's usually a lot of variety in my day – and its generally a mix of dealing with data and people! A typical day might consist of working with in-house modellers to analyse data results, drafting response letters to stakeholder queries on Crossrail 2, chairing internal working groups and attending consultation meetings with local boroughs. On top of this, I balance work responsibilities with my role as Chair of TfL's Women's Network. I will connect with co-chairs for progress updates, prepare for upcoming events, chair committee meetings, as well as engage with external organisations and senior leaders at TfL to drive the gender diversity agenda forward.
What are some of the biggest transport planning challenges that you are currently working on?
I currently work as a senior transport planner in Crossrail 2, a regional railway that will run from Surrey to Hertfordshire. Crossrail 2 will address transport challenges by providing vital capacity to the transport network in the 2030's and will help to address the housing challenge across the South East through delivering 200,000 additional homes. It has been great to work in a highly political environment and to get experience of more strategic transport planning work.
Another key challenge that I have been working on voluntarily over the years is diversity – and particularly the lack of women in the industry.I was elected as Chair of TfL's women's staff network in 2016 and lead on a range of initiatives to improve the diversity of our pipeline coming into the industry, as well as making the industry a better place to retain female talent.
You recently won the EveryWoman 'Industry Champion' award for transport and logistics through your voluntary work promoting gender diversity in the industry. What does it mean to you to win this award?
It means so much to win this award. It's certainly a great motivator for me and everyone who I work with to continue forwards. I hope it inspires others to take action too; there are still only 23% women in TfL and just 22% across the transport sector more widely in the UK so we must all play our part in addressing this imbalance. Some of the ways we can all help to improve the pipeline include promoting transport careers in your local schools, mentoring female students, or offering work experience programmes for students and 'returnship' programmes for women returning to work in your companies. I firmly believe that small efforts collectively make a big difference over time.
What are your plans for the future?
I am about to move into more operational planning where I'll manage reliability improvements on the tube and bus network across London. I'm excited to get started! I will, of course, continue to champion diversity across the industry in my spare time and look forward to seeing progress over the years ahead.
Harriet Glen started her transport career in 2013 after completing a geography degree at Durham University and gaining an MSc in Transport Planning through Transport for London's transport planning graduate scheme. Since joining Transport for London, Harriet has gained exposure to a wide range of transport disciplines from London bus network planning to more recently developing the business case for Crossrail 2 as a Principal Transport Planner. Harriet is now a Reliability Improvement Manager in London Underground where she is responsible for driving reliability improvements across the network. Outside of her day job, Harriet is extremely passionate about gender equality and was elected as Chair of TfL's Women's Staff Network in 2016.