The Key Role of Professional Certifications in Transportation Consulting: P.E., AICP, PTP, PTOE, TDM-CP, ActiveScore AP - Wells + Associates

The Important Role of Professional Certifications in Transportation Consulting: P.E., AICP, PTP, PTOE, TDM-CP, ActiveScore AP

When developers, businesses, and communities are developing or modifying a physical facility – including retail, commercial, residential, and institutional projects – various professionals with certifications will be required to achieve project approval. These certifications also ensure that best practices in sustainable/multimodal transportation solutions are included to ensure maximum access and mobility choices for the tenants of a property.

Whether it is a matter of meeting regulatory requirements or achieving a measure of competitive advantage by providing better access, a variety of acronyms identify these professional certifications, such as:  

We review each of these certifications below.  

Professional Engineer (P.E.)

Within the engineering profession, a Professional Engineer certification is the highest standard of competence. Aside from being a mark of an engineer’s professional credentials, professional engineers are often required to place their official “stamp” on traffic and transportation analyses and studies that are a part of permitting approval processes.  

In other words: without a PE stamp, your project won’t move forward.  

Professional engineers are certified by individual states. The stamp issued by a PE is a confirmation that the work was prepared by the engineer or under her/his direct supervision. With the PE stamp, the engineer is also affirming their accountability for the information in the report or document.  

What does it take to be licensed? PEs first must complete a four-year college degree, work under another Professional Engineer for at least four years, and then pass competency exams to earn a license from their state’s licensure board.  

You can get to know the Professional Engineers on the Wells + Associates team here 

American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)

A transportation planner specializes in creating sustainable, equitable, and safe transportation networks that reflect the context of their setting and can be used by a wide variety of commuters and travelers.  

But how does a developer, a property owner, or a community know they are getting such top-level planning guidance? One way is to work with transportation planners who are certified as planners by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). The listing of the acronym “AICP” after a transportation planner’s name indicates that the planner understands the interconnection of land use and transportation networks and is able to help a property or project maximize its potential within the multimodal landscape.  

Administered by the American Planning Association, the AICP provides the only nationwide, independent verification of transportation, urban, community, and town planners’ qualifications. AICP members “pledge to uphold high standards of practice, ethics, and professional conduct, and to keep their skills sharp and up to date by continuously pursuing advanced professional education.” Planners also agree to abide by the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and must attend regular continuing education to keep skillsets up to date and meet ethical and professional standards. 

To be eligible to apply for ACIP certification, the AICP Certification Guide details requirements for both education and experience.  

View AICP-certified planners at Wells + Associates 

Professional Transportation Planner (PTP)

Transportation planning is the art and science of defining and guiding the process of designing networks that efficiently move people and goods to their destinations. It is a collaborative process that increasingly considers the full range of transportation possibilities, from single-occupancy vehicles and transit systems to active transportation networks and facilities, and more. 

So, what is a PTP? 

As the Transportation Professional Certification Board (TPCB) puts it: The “Professional Transportation Planner® (PTP) certification program is designed for candidates who have a wide range of education and experience in transportation planning.”  

PTP certification, which is handled by the TPCB, provides additional assurance about a professional’s technical competence and proficiency in transportation planning.  

The PTP exam covers a wide range of topics, including: 

  • Land Use and Transportation Relationships 
  • Needs Assessment for Short- and Long-Range Planning 
  • Transportation System Planning for Short- and Long-Range Goals 
  • Transportation System Evaluation 
  • Public Policy 
  • Environmental Analyses 
  • Plan Implementation 

What does it take to become a PTP-certified planner? A bachelor’s degree (in any field), a minimum of three years of relevant work experience, and successfully passing a challenging exam.  

You can view the PTP professionals at Wells + Associates here 

Professional Traffic Operations Engineer (PTOE)

While also certified by the Transportation Professional Certification Board (TPCB), PTOE certification relates directly to the profession of traffic operations engineers. PTOE is the highest level licensing available in the field of traffic engineering and builds on the role of the Professional Engineer discussed above.  

Why a PTOE designation? As the TPCB states, PTOE certification “provides the public with an important assurance that the holder of that registration has demonstrated acceptable knowledge and skill in basic engineering areas: civil, electrical, mechanical, etc.” 

To obtain certification, a PTOE-certified engineer must:  

  • Have four years of Professional Traffic Operations Engineering experience 
  • Hold a valid license issued by a state or governmental body to engage in the practice of engineering  
  • Achieve a passing score on the Professional Traffic Operations Engineer® exam 

You can view the PTOE-licensed traffic engineers at Wells + Associates here. 

Transportation Demand Management Certified Professional (TDM-CP)

The role of transportation in real estate development and property management is changing rapidly. No longer do we live in a world where tenants and commuters rely solely on single-occupancy-vehicle access and parking.  

Now, multimodal access and transportation are increasingly desired. This is achieved not merely with the creation of Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plans but through actual implementation of those plans – a skill our entire TDM team is versed in.  

TDM-CP certification indicates to property owners, managers, and developers that their transportation and mobility programs will be reviewed, developed, and implemented by a professional who has the most in-depth understanding of TDM best practices and brings a level of proven professional creativity in developing customized TDM plans. 

The TDM-CP certification, administered by the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT), promotes the important role of highly qualified individuals who can help developments and communities address the diverse needs of commuters, communities, and employers. 

The TDM-CP certification is not a requirement in the same way a Professional Engineer’s stamp is required for regulatory approvals. However, when our team assigns a TDM-CP stamp to projects, the stamp denotes that the property in question will meet the highest level of competitive advantage and tenant transportation experience  through the development and implementation of fully optimized multimodal amenities and services.  

The TDM-CP Certification Candidate Handbook reviews eligibility and requirements in detail. For example, depending on the education level of the candidate (ranging from high school diploma to Master’s Degree), prior TDM experience ranges from 1 to 8 years.  

Active Transportation: ActiveScore AP Certification

As transportation networks become more multimodal and competition for tenants and occupancy increases, properties increasingly appreciate the importance of providing robust active transportation facilities for those who like to bike, walk, and run. Many of our team members are ActiveScore Accredited Professionals (APs), enabling them to certify properties’ active transportation benefits.  

The ActiveScore system assesses and certifies buildings’ active transportation networks and facilities and enables owners and managers to improve the marketability of their properties by helping buildings create active transportation infrastructure and services. You can learn more about this certification in our article, Active Transportation Facilities: A Competitive Advantage for Commercial Real Estate Properties