Job! (Deadline Extended) Transit Planner and Project Manager with Our Firm

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UPDATE:  Deadline extended to April 30, 2021.

Yes, it’s time for us to look for our next senior colleague!  Here’s the listing. Please spread far and wide.

A small, creative, and growing transit planning firm seeks a Senior Associate or Principal based in Portland, Oregon or Arlington, Virginia who wants to lead interesting bus network planning projects and potentially develop a public profile as a leader on transit issues.  The job requires experience managing public transit planning projects, preferably as a consultant but possibly for government or other entities.

About us

Jarrett Walker & Associates is a small firm (14 employees) built upon Jarrett Walker’s 25 years of experience in transit network planning, and the techniques and approaches outlined in his book Human Transit.  Founded in 2011, we have twelve professional FTE and are in a phase of growth.  We are based in Portland, Oregon with a satellite office in Arlington, Virginia.  We are looking to add someone to our team who is available to work from one of these locations once public health conditions allow us to return to the office.

Our mission statement is: “We foster clear conversations about transit, leading to confident decisions.”  We specialize in planning that integrates public and stakeholder conversations.  The goal is that plans fully reflect both the values and priorities of the community and the geometric facts of how transit really works.   An ability to distinguish between values and facts is critical to our practice.

Network planning studies – both short term and long term — are the core of our business.  We have a long track record of success in these studies across North America and overseas.  We are also frequently hired to lead visioning processes, workshops, and training programs, and provide expert advice to senior executives and political processes.

In expanding our staff we also value adjacent areas of expertise, such as transit finance, scheduling and operations, transit agency management, paratransit and demand-response planning.  However, you must be able to step into management roles in network planning projects.

About the job

We are looking for a project manager and transit planner at our firm, with the title of Senior Associate or possibly Principal, depending on your level of experience. In this role, you will manage consulting projects with minimal supervision and help grow the firm through marketing and business development.  This role includes:

  • Being the client’s primary point of contact.
  • Managing all staff working on the project.
  • Monitoring budget and timeline.
  • Making decisions about how to approach the work within the context of the agreed scope, budget, and timeline.
  • Networking with potential clients and following business development leads.
  • Responding to RFPs and building teams with partner firms to complete proposals.
  • Participating in firm management tasks, as assigned.

Travel is part of the job.  Once public health conditions allow, the applicant should be prepared to travel 5 days per month on average.

Compensation and title will depend on experience, but will probably be in the range of $80,000-120,000/year. Our benefits program includes medical, dental, and disability insurance; a 401(k) program; subsidized transit passes; paid medical leave (1 hour per 30 hours worked); and paid time off (120 hours per fulltime year, which is also used for holidays).  We are extremely flexible about work hours, with staff working anywhere from 28 to 40 hours a week and being compensated accordingly.

Qualifications needed

The right candidate has all or almost all of the following:

  • At least 4 years of professional experience in transit planning.  This could be in bus service planning and analysis, but adjacent specialties such as corridor planning, transit scheduling, demand-response planning and transit policy are also valuable.  We may also consider candidates whose primary experience is in related fields like development planning and bike/ped planning, but you would need to (a) demonstrate expertise that we can successfully market in the context of transit planning, (b) demonstrate commitment to transit planning as a primary career goal.
  • At least two years experience as a manager of significant projects or work efforts, either in consulting or government agencies.
  • Excellence at writing, and conceiving visualizations, for a non-technical audience.
  • Excellence in public speaking, including situations where you must answer questions, handle objections, and “think on your feet.”
  • A passion for public transit and its role in city-building.
  • Evidence of independent and creative problem-solving, especially in the network design, service analysis, facilitation, outreach, policymaking or explanation/education.
  • US citizenship, legal residency or other legal permission to work long-term in the US.
  • Absolute fluency and clarity in spoken and written English.
  • Availability to begin work no later than June 1, 2021.  If you can start then but need more time to move, we can discuss.

The following are also very advantageous.

  • Evidence of ability to attract clients through your own skills and experience.
  • Familiarity with transit service and market analysis techniques.
  • Experience facilitating group decision processes, including of staff, stakeholders, and/or formal boards, councils and committees.
  • Experience in teaching or training.
  • Foreign language fluency, especially but not exclusively Spanish.
  • Familiarity with Jarrett Walker’s writings and our firm’s approaches to transit, combined with a readiness to engage critically with these ideas and help us sharpen and/or discard them. If you have not encountered Jarrett’s work before, read at least the introduction to his book Human Transit and some of the articles in the “Basics” section of his blog

We seek diversity in our workforce, and welcome all applicants regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity.

How to Apply

If you’re interested, we’d like to receive:

  • A cover letter describing how your experience and skills match the requirements and preferences listed above. Please state also where you are available to work (Portland, Oregon or Arlington, Virginia.).
  • A resume describing your relevant experience.
  • Up to three pieces of writing you’ve done that show your ability to explain a complex issue to a broad audience. This could be a professional report, an executive summary, an academic paper, a blog post, or an advocacy document.  If it’s a long document, the introduction or executive summary will do.  If it is a document written collaboratively, please select a section that was primarily your writing, or submit text that you drafted it even if it was later revised.
  • If available: Video or audio (files or links) of you doing some kind of presentation, preferably one addressed to a general non-technical audience.

Please email the application to [email protected] with the subject “(your name) Senior Application.”

Apply as soon as possible and no later than April 15, 2021.  If we have not found the right candidate by then we will announce deadline extensions here.  You will hear from us by April 30 or two weeks after you apply, whichever is earlier.


For a little more about my thoughts about this position, see this Twitter thread.

Do I absolutely have to be in Portland or Arlington?  We won’t hire someone to start a new office who hasn’t spent a lot of time with us. If we’ve already worked with you, it’s a little more conceivable.  Would we consider it if you were amazing?  Never say never, but you’d have to be head and shoulders about the crowd on all the things we’re looking for, and you’d have to spend a lot of time in Portland for training.  Really, yes, we do want you with us in person.

Please share this with anyone who might be interested!



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