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Traffic Engineer


Traffic Engineer

Brief description of the position:

In 2009, it took the average American about 25 minutes to drive to work. The daily commute is greatly affected by traffic engineers. Traffic engineers are engaged in the design and operation of roadway systems. They work to ensure that traffic flows easily on existing and planned roadways. Their job may entail research on the optimization of traffic signal timing and planning new intersections. A traffic engineer may work in the field taking vehicle counts, which are used to create traffic simulations. Simulations are commonly used to determine the effects of a potential traffic improvement project. Traffic engineers work on more than just the initial design stages of a transportation project; they may continue to make adjustments to signal timing for the same location for several years. Many traffic engineers are employed by public government entities such as city public works departments or state departments of transportation, but some work for private consulting companies.

Compensation range:

Between $80,000-$90,000 or, $6,600-$7,500/mo.

Secondary and Postsecondary Education

Traffic engineers must be familiar with transportation engineering principles related to road design and traffic signal operation. They should have a background from high school in advanced math and science classes such as calculus and physics. Traffic engineers often use special computer software programs to create traffic simulations, draft plans, and control signal timing. They typically have a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, and may have an advanced degree. Traffic engineers will need to pass both the Fundamentals of Engineering and Professional Engineering exams.