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Traffic Technicians

Traffic technicians respond to complaints and requests, answer traffic-related questions and discuss traffic control plans, policies, ordinances and procedures.



By Julia Mann
Posted 2011



Traffic technicians use drafting instruments or computer-automated drafting equipment to create drawings of proposed signal installations or other control devices. They provide technical supervision to other traffic technicians and laborers regarding traffic control devices. They also analyze data related to accident rate data, traffic flow and proposed development. Traffic technicians design and improve components of traffic control systems to accommodate current and projected traffic.

Traffic technicians prepare work orders to repair, maintain and change traffic systems. They lay out pavement markings for striping crews, study factors affecting traffic conditions and gather and compile data from hand count sheets. They also operate counters and record data to assess the volume, type, and movement of pedestrian and vehicular traffic at certain times.

Summary

  • Traffic technicians conduct field studies to determine traffic speed, effectiveness of signals, volume, adequacy of lighting and other factors influencing traffic conditions.
  • This position requires an associate’s degree, vocational school training or related on-the-job experience.
  • Traffic technicians are responsible for laying out pavement markings for striping crews.

Work Environment for Traffic Technicians

Traffic technicians work outdoors with traffic counters, portable weight scales, pavement cutting saws, total stations and radar guns. Proficiency with analytical software like Dowling Associates TRAFFIX; JAMAR Technologies PETRAPro and Pd’ Programming Intersection Magic is often required. They may also use Autodesk AutoCAD software and Trafficware Sim Traffic, as well as map creation software, such as ESRI ArcGIS software and ESRI ArcView.

Education, Training and Licensing

To become a traffic technician, candidates typically attend a community or technical college. A traffic technician program usually last two to three years, and it often includes an internship. Admission requirements for this type of program include high school graduation and credits in math and English. Often, courses in this program include blueprint creation; computer assisted design (CAD) and management and advanced computer operation skills. Additional courses or certification might be offered in project management and business administration.

Traffic technician candidates must also gain work experience. Many people gain their initial work experience through an internship program. This provides graduates with education and work experience that gives them a substantial advantage in the job market.

Employment Figures, Projections, Outlook and Earnings

Traffic technicians held 6,570 jobs in May 2009, according to research published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Positions in this category include engineering technician, traffic technician, traffic investigator, transportation planning technician, transportation technician, traffic signal technician (TST), field traffic investigator, traffic control technician, traffic analyst and traffic engineering technician.

BLS reports indicate that the median annual wage for salaried traffic technicians was $41,330 in May 2009. The middle 50% earned between $31,350 and $54,700. While the lowest 10% had an annual income at or below $26,340 the top 10% earned upwards of $63,430 per year.

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