Highways Asset Manager - CIHT Member

What is CIHT?

The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) represents over 14,000 professionals working in transport infrastructure. John Paterson, Highways Asset Manager is a CIHT member working for Atkins.

What is a Highways Asset Manager?

Interested in business? Excited by the prospect of working with big money? Want a rewarding and varied career? With a career in highway asset management, you’ll be responsible for monitoring and managing assets including traffic signals and street lighting – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Your main mission as a highways asset manager is to keep track of highway assets with a view to getting the most out of them, both financially and in terms of making sure that all records are up to date and accurate and the assets are safe for people to use.

DID YOU KNOW? Asset management in the UK is seen as world-leading. If you work in the transport sector (e.g. highways and rail) you could get a chance to work all around the world.

What does a Highways Asset Manager do?

Highways needs lots of things (things like footways, traffic signals and street lighting) to make them usable and safe. All of these things are called ‘assets’ and they need to be looked after all the time to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to. As a highways asset manager you’ll understand which things are working - and which need to be worked on to keep them in the best condition.

So what’s involved in your job?

The types of asset you’ll manage as a highways asset manager are:

  • Carriageways, footways, cycle ways that vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians use
  • Structures such as bridges or tunnels
  • Signs, traffic signals and road markings
  • Drainage systems
  • Earthworks – large banks of the ground that support roads and footways
  • Fences and barriers
  • Street lighting and electrical communications to assist users -Landscape areas.

As a highways asset manager for the transport industry, you’ll make sure all these things are in good working order and safe for the public to use and travel on. You’ll do this by managing, monitoring and keeping track of all those assets. You’ll also use your analytical skills to give advice on where to invest money in new assets or upgrades. This could mean investing in a new set of streetlights, or making sure that the traffic lights for a busy junction are in good working order.

DID YOU KNOW? Assets can be under the ground such as tunnels or over such as bridges.

Is a career in asset management right for me?

If you have great project management and analytical skills and are confident in areas like negotiating and public speaking, a career in asset management could be a great fit for you. Highway asset managers come from all sorts of backgrounds, but a civil engineering background can help you on your way.

How to become a Highways Asset Manager?

Because the role can demand maths and analytical skills as well as management skills, it’s useful to keep up your maths and science at school before taking next steps.

There are a number of routes into asset management. If you opt for an alternative to the university route, you could combine extensive experience within an industry with management experience and financial knowledge. You could start in the transport industry and then widen your financial knowledge. With experience, you could become a highways asset manager, using your technical knowledge to make good business decisions.

If you choose to study at university, you’ll be able to apply for graduate asset management roles available in a number of different industries. Degrees relating to civil engineering can be particularly useful. For example, CIHT member, John Paterson, Asset Management Consultant at Atkins did maths, physics and chemistry at A-level then went on to do a BEng(Hons) at the University of Birmingham Open University.

To boost your employability you could take part in work experience for an organisation. To find out more about work experience, click here.

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