Professor May has 50 years' experience in transport planning and traffic engineering. He has been a professor at Leeds since 1977, and has served as Director of the Institute for Transport Studies, Head of the Department of Civil Engineering, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research. Between 1985 and 2001 he maintained a link between research and teaching at Leeds and practical experience in consultancy with MVA Ltd for which he was Director of Transport Policy. Prior to 1977 he spent ten years with the Greater London Council, where he was responsible for policy on highways, traffic management and transport-related land use planning, and managed major studies on traffic restraint, parking policy and motorway traffic control. He was elected as a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1995, and awarded the OBE for services to transport engineering in 2004. He retired from the University of Leeds in 2009, but is still active in research, consultancy and professional development. He served as President of the World Conference on Transport Research Society between 2007 and 2013. He has until recently been Editor in Chief of the European Transport Research Review and Secretary General of the World Conference on Transport Research Society.
While at Leeds he has been awarded over 80 research grants and contracts by the Engineering and Physical Sciences and Economic and Social Science Research Councils, DfT and TRL, the European Community, the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund, and several local authorities. Amongst these have been studies of the transport problems of inner city firms, techniques for monitoring travel, development of dynamic route guidance, the management of congestion at signalised junctions, transport governance in the UK conurbations, the design and appraisal of road pricing strategies, the combined performance of transport and land use strategies, the impact of integrated transport strategies and their contribution to environmental policy, the development of guidance on sustainable urban transport and land use policy and the potential for new transport technologies in urban areas. Most recently he has coordinated a major four year research programme on decision support for sustainable urban transport strategies, and contributed to a European project which has helped cities throughout Europe with the preparation of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans. As part of that project, he has recently upgraded his knowledgebase on urban land use and transport, KonSULT (www.konsult.leeds.ac.uk).
While with MVA Ltd, Professor May was technical adviser on the development of transport strategies for London, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Liverpool. More recently he advised Sheffield City Council on its city centre Master Plan. He has a continuing role as Transport Policy Adviser to the Grosvenor Estates in London and to the York Civic Trust, focusing particularly on enhancements to public realm. He has been a specialist adviser to the House of Commons Transport Committee and the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, and a consultant to OECD, the European Conference of Ministers of Transport, the World Bank, the International Transport Forum, the US Transportation Research Board, the Singapore Land Transport Authority, the New Zealand Ministry of Transport and the Thailand Commission for Land Transport.