RD: I’ve been a road safety / transportation engineer for 26 years. This includes the past 10 years with my company TranSafe Consulting Ltd., where I assist public sector agencies develop and deliver road safety plans and programs. On a personal note, I’m an Ismaili Muslim, born in Kenya, with ancestry from India, and French is my second language. So yes, you might say mine is the story of Canada!
I have spent most of my life in various parts of Metro Vancouver, but was in Calgary for a decade - including the boom years. That was a very interesting time, and I still consider Calgary my “second home”. My wife Shelina is an Edmontonian and a devoted Oilers fan - so that makes for some heated discussions about sports within the Dilgir household!
A big part of my life revolves around music. I come from a family of musicians, so from a young age I have been playing the piano/keyboard, singing and songwriting. I’ve landed some neat gigs over the years, from weekly restaurant gigs to sharing the stage with some Bollywood stars in 2015!
RD: Within the Civil Engineering program at UBC, I found the Transportation Engineering courses to be the most interesting and relatable, and I ended up being recruited by Hamilton Associates. I worked in different capacities there for 15 years and did two brief stints in the public sector prior to founding TranSafe. I’ve worked across Canada and the U.S., and have been fortunate to travel to New Zealand, India, Belize and North Africa for road safety projects.
RD: When I think back, I’m most proud of leading projects where a community really come together over the issue of traffic safety, such as the Safe Journeys to School Project for the City of St. Albert in 2014. In a volunteer capacity, I’m most proud of overseeing the development of the British Columbia Community Road Safety Toolkit, a truly multi-disciplinary effort that earned the CITE BC Mavis Johnson Award for Road Safety Project of the Year in 2017.
RD: I was first exposed to TAC when I was asked by my supervisor to make my presentation a TAC Conference in 2001 in Edmonton. I still remember how nervous I was when answering the audience’s questions! I started attending the Road Safety Committee soon after that and served as a liaison for various other committees. I have been fortunate since then to manage or participate in a number of TAC projects, including the Sixth Edition of the MUTCDC, which should be coming out shortly! I’m currently serving as the inaugural co-Chair of the Vision Zero and Safe System Subcommittee. It has been exciting to help move us into a new paradigm in terms of how road safety is prioritized in the transportation system.
RD: Volunteering with TAC has always been an honour because of the long history and credibility of the organization, and it has been enjoyable because of the great people who I’ve volunteered with. One of the best things about being a volunteer with TAC is realizing that we are sometimes in the position of making decisions that could really impact people’s lives. It has also been fun to bring people together to share stories and perspectives that we can all learn from.
RD: One of the challenges I have been trying working on is helping us engineers think less about engineering(!), and more about planning and policy. It may seem like a stretch, but I truly believe that doing this will help us to create safer transportation systems, and ultimately have a bigger impact in shaping the cities in which we live and work.
RD: I would suggest to them to volunteer with TAC or other associations to help them build networking skills and to obtain a better understanding of the “big picture” and the common issues that we face across our great country.
I would also encourage them to try different experiences: work in different areas of transportation until you find the area you’re the most passionate about. Try both the public and private sector, work internationally (once we’re allowed!), attend conferences and webinars, and seek professional certification in your discipline of choice.