Education and Training College plus training
Salary Median—$38,480 per year
Employment Outlook Good
Definition and Nature of the Work
Traffic technicians gather and analyze data about traffic flow, accidents, and proposed commercial and residential developments. For instance, they may use counters to measure vehicular and pedestrian traffic in specific places at specific times. Based on their findings, they make proposals to expedite traffic flow, such as additional traffic signs and better lighting to improve visibility. Also called traffic analysts or traffic-control technicians, they may assist traffic engineers on large civil engineering projects, such as highway overpasses.
Technicians often interact with the public, answering questions about traffic flow or discussing traffic-control plans, policies, or procedures. They may also visit the sites of commercial or residential developments to determine how the structures will affect current traffic patterns. They may design improvements to existing plans.
Traffic technicians work for federal highway agencies and for the highway or street departments of state, county, and city governments. Others work for private consulting firms, educational institutions, or businesses.
Education and Training Requirements
Traffic technicians must have high school diplomas. A growing number of technicians have college degrees in related fields. Useful courses include statistics, physics, city planning, and computer-aided design.
New hires participate in short training programs, which may involve both classroom instruction and practical experience. They are trained and supervised by experienced technicians until they can work independently.
Getting the Job
Civil service commissions can provide information about civil service tests and job opportunities in government. Job seekers can also apply directly to public transportation companies and engineering firms. College placement services, newspaper classified ads, and Internet job sites may offer employment leads.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
With experience traffic technicians can become head technicians or move to supervisory positions. With additional education they can become traffic engineers.
Employment of traffic technicians is expected to grow as fast as the average for all jobs through 2014. As the population increases and continues to move to suburban areas, demand should grow for technicians who can analyze traffic flow and implement improvements.
Traffic technicians usually work forty hours per week. Extra hours may be necessary to study evening or weekend traffic patterns or to assess commercial or residential development sites. Technicians spend much of their workday out on the roads analyzing traffic patterns.
Where to Go for More Information
American Society of Civil Engineers
1801 Alexander Graham Bell Dr.
Reston, VA 20191-4400
Institute of Transportation Engineers
1099 Fourteenth St. NW, Ste. 300 W.
Washington, DC 20005-3438
Earnings and Benefits
In 2004 the median salary of traffic technicians was $38,480 per year. Benefits usually included paid holidays and vacations, health insurance, and retirement plans.