Texas Board of Professional Engineers
Policy Advisory Opinion Regarding Transportation Planning
May 19, 2005

Executive Summary: Transportation planning involves the use of many types of preliminary data collection studies such as constraint mapping, ridership studies, traffic counts, non-engineering environmental impact studies and public opinion polls. These types of activities are not considered engineering. However, when the collected data is analyzed and resultant specific recommendations are made based on the interpretation of that engineering data, these activities are required to be performed by professional engineers, subject to the exemptions of the Texas Engineering Practice Act (Act).

Discussion: Sections 1001.003(c)(1), (2) and (3) of the Act state that the practice of engineering includes:

"consultation, investigation, evaluation, analysis, planning, engineering for program management, providing an expert engineering opinion or testimony, engineering for testing or evaluating materials for construction or other engineering use, and mapping;."

" design, conceptual design, or conceptual design coordination of engineering works or systems."

"development or optimization of plans and specifications for engineering works or systems."

The Texas Board of Professional Engineers (Board) has determined that transportation planning activities that require detailed cost estimates, engineering designs or comparisons, and other activities that require the application of engineering principles and the interpretation of engineering data, are the practice of engineering and must be designed and/or supervised by a licensed engineer for public works (subject to Section 1001.053 and 1001.407 of the Act)) and any designs performed by a licensed engineer for private works (not subject to the Exemptions of Subchapter B of the Act). The Board recognizes that early studies conducted by federally mandated planning agencies using generic population and other broad parameters for the purpose of funding allocation are not engineering studies and are usually performed by non-engineering professionals.

Tasks associated with transportation planning that the Board considers to be tasks that must be performed by or conducted under the supervision of a licensed professional engineer include but are not limited to:

Texas licensed engineers are required to prepare the specifications, cost estimates, designs and perform engineering construction supervision of public works projects not exempted by the Act. Licensed professional engineers are required to perform the design of the listed activities for private works not exempted by the Act.