148 | „Engineers should be brave enough to challenge clients“ For Matilda Porsö, trafﬁc planner at AFRY, the planning of cities and trafﬁc is about much more than just roads, cars, and trafﬁc junctions. It is about people and making it easier for them to make decisions that are beneﬁcial for them- selves, the cities, and ultimately for the climate. “I am an engineer, but my master in Urban Planning is a lot less technical than the hard- core engineering masters. I also do calcula- tions, but my work is more about behavioral design than system design. I usually say that I am a soft engineer,” she says. 18.000 colleagues worldwide, engineering solu- tions within infrastructure, energy, industry, and digitalization plus an overall vision of making future. That is the everyday working environment for Matilda Porsö at AFRY, one of the largest engineering companies in the North. And in her job as trafﬁc planner, Matilda gets to combine her two great interests: people and sustainability. “I always knew that I wanted to work with people. As a trafﬁc planner I have the possibility and the ability to inﬂuence people’s daily choices without being a politician. I work to make it easier to be a pedestrian and cyclist in the bigger cities,” she explains. The soft engineer Matilda is interested in seeing the strategic pictures of the cities: What are the movement patterns of the citizens? How can we create an even better mobility that motivates people to get from A to B by foot, bike, or public transpor- tation? Urban planners are needed in the future “Everyone has an attitude towards urban and trafﬁc planning. It is a ﬁeld with great political attention and where there is a major focus on innovation,” Matilda says and adds that in future, there will be a need for urban planners who dare to challenge clients’ wishes and who insist on developing sustainable mobility solu- tions. “Despite the character of the client, urban planners and trafﬁc planners ought to chal- lenge them and question if their ideas are good enough. What if we can provide them with a more sustainable solution? Perhaps it would be smarter to expand the bike lane instead of the road? We will need more of that kind of engi- neers in the future – engineers who are brave enough to challenge clients and politicians,” Matilda anticipates.
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