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A Day in the Life of Matthew Burke

May 18, 2018

We wanted to find out about Matt Burke, our Assistant Transport Planner in our Northern office this month. So here is our continued series in A Day in the life of....

Matt, What are you responsible for?

My primary responsibility is the preparation of Transport Assessments and Travel Plans to support planning applications for private development. This is supported with other tasks such as Micro-simulation modelling and AutoCAD work.

Where are you based?
Gateshead northern MTP office 

How do you get to work?
I like to cycle in the summer but admittedly in the depths of winter I drive as the lure of a warm heater, coupled with the opportunity to tune in to BBC Newcastle’s football phone-in and have a laugh at the Sunderland fans’ misery is far too great.

However, Newcastle City Council is investing in bold cycling infrastructure investment such as the segregated cycle lanes on John Dobson Street. There is still a long way to go but it’s been proven in cities such as Copenhagen, where there are now more commutes by bicycle than by car, that weather alone is not the determining factor to the lack of cycling in the city and with further investment people like myself may cycle for longer periods of the year.

What in the top of  your ‘In’-tray?
I am currently preparing a transport assessment for a housing development in County Durham. This has required technical input such as highway safety analysis, a census-based trip distribution exercise and micro-simulation junction modelling.

What are the best aspects of your job?
Having a wide range of responsibility on each project, from providing technical input to attending public consultations on behalf of the client. I also think it is important to visit the site to assess the accessibility and sustainability from your own perspective.

Something a bit different this year that I have enjoyed assisting with is the MSc Transport Course at Newcastle University, where I provided guidance to the students on the same public inquiry course that I studied myself a couple of years ago.

What are the challenges?
On a daily basis I must ensure the client gets the best possible outcome whilst working towards tight deadlines.

As an additional challenge, I am currently preparing a paper on the ‘generalised cost’ of public transport within Tyne & Wear, which I am presenting at the Transport Practitioner’s Meeting this July at the University of Oxford.

How do you relax?
My girlfriend and I have recently got a dog, so a lot of my spare time is spent on walks at the coast or in the countryside. I am a big fan of live music and sport so whenever my friends and I get the chance to see either we will usually combine this with some food and a few beers in town.

What are your ambitions?
I have progressed a lot during the year and a half I’ve been at Milestone, my first job since completing my Transport Planning MSc. I hope to continue building on the experience and skills I have attained so far.

There is a growing importance for both accessibility and sustainability within government transport policy. This is reflected in the travel planning and site accessibility work I undertake for each project. As these fields become more influential in transport planning I aim to develop my own knowledge of them, both through the work at Milestone and taking opportunities such as presenting a paper on the subject at this years’ TPM.

Thank you Matt! Was good to find out a little about you.