Handiss Spotlight - Jon kostyniuk

Handiss Spotlight: Jon Kostyniuk – Traffic and Transportation Engineer

Jon has over 15 years of experience in the fields of transportation and electrical engineering. His primary technical expertise lies in development, calibration, application of multi-resolution, and multi-model mobility models for transportation planning.

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Q: You started your career in electrical and instrumentation engineering, then shifted to transportation engineering. How and why did you make this career shift?

A: I have been interested in transportation engineering and traffic signal systems ever since I was a teenager. In fact, engineering in general always seemed like a natural fit for me.

Coming from a smaller city, it was difficult to get into this field initially, but I finally had an opportunity to get into transportation engineering in the City of Calgary.

Q: How did you choose your university? Did you have specific program related factors in mind?

A: I went to the University of Saskatchewan in my hometown, which is known for its engineering program in Western Canada. However, I did not feel that their Civil program was strong in transportation. Hence, instead I pursued a degree in Electrical Engineering instead since it had a good reputation.

Q: Did your university play a role in securing you internships and helping you step out to the professional world?

A: Yes, my University did help me in achieving my first internship with Syncrude in Fort McMurray. It was then that I had my first real engineering job in both their extraction and mining divisions, and I got to work on various electrical and instrumentation projects.

Q: What is it that you do exactly as a traffic and transportation engineer?

A: Currently, I am working on upgrading and modernizing the traffic signal system for the City of London, Ontario where I work as the Project Manager. This includes a new central system, video monitoring, and development of a Transportation Management Centre. My other major project currently is the development of a Connected and Automated Vehicle Strategic Plan for the City.

Q: What are the main software skills a transportation engineer uses on daily basis?

A: As with most jobs, I’m heavy on MS Office but extend that to use Visual Basic scripting periodically. More specific to transportation, I use a proprietary traffic signal management platform, transportation modelling tools (e.g. Synchro, VISUM, VISSIM, etc.), and I’m an advanced Python user as well for data analysis.

There are other programs, but these are the major software skills I focus on. In addition those, information security and penetration testing are becoming bigger topics with the emergence of connected infrastructure and vehicles.

Q: Were you working remotely during the lockdown? If yes, how was the experience and how did you manage?

A: Yes, I have been and still am working remotely. I used to do this in my pervious consulting job to some degree, so this has been more of a return to that. Sometimes it is challenging balancing work with family time during the current COVID situation, but overall it has been a great and positive experience.

Q: Where do you see transportation engineering moving in the future?

A: As we gain a more connected infrastructure, new tools will be required. I am particularly interested in block chain technologies and how these distributed systems can help the transportation industry. Similarly, as mentioned above, more skills in information security will be required to keep these emerging technologies safe and secure as they relate to transportation systems, the general public, and bad actors.

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