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Traffic Designer: Salary, Duties, Outlook and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a traffic designer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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Traffic designers are civil engineers who specialize in the design of roads. They need to have a bachelor's degree in urban planning or civil engineering. These positions have an annual average salary of about $88,000.

Essential Information

Traffic designers are civil engineers that specialize in road and highway systems. These professionals promote safe and efficient travel, and they must possess a bachelor's degree and may need to be licensed as professional engineers. Job prospects for traffic designers are favorable. Specialty certifications can help with career advancement.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in civil engineering or urban planning
Other Requirements Professional engineer (PE) license for some positions
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% (civil engineers)*
Average Salary (2015) $87,940 (civil engineers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Traffic Designer Salary Information

According to PayScale.com in January 2016, the expected salary for traffic engineers ranges from about $50,251 to $88,045 a year. Traffic engineering is a specialized form of transportation engineering, a subset of civil engineering.

Duties of a Traffic Designer

Ensuring efficiency and safety for roads and highways are the prime objectives of traffic designers. Maintaining these goals takes place in both traffic system construction and research. Traffic designers use intelligent transportation systems, such as speed sensors, to measure traffic flow and control devices to reduce lane congestion. These engineers also offer predictions on how new commercial businesses will affect nearby traffic patterns.

Environmental consideration also plays a role in the research process. By reducing travel time and fuel consumption, traffic designers endeavor to reduce transit pollution. At locations with a high frequency of car accidents, traffic designers will investigate potential causes and develop countermeasures. If parts of a route are under construction, traffic designers are responsible for compiling appropriate detour plans.

Traffic designers working for a city must also take parking logistics into account. They may also supervise traffic technicians as they work with statistics and recommend cost-effective solutions.

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Traffic Designer Career Outlook

Job prospects for traffic designers should be good, given an increasingly mobile population. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted an 8% increase in the entire civil engineering profession between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). Traffic designers can work at a local, state, or federal level. Certification can be beneficial for advancement to senior engineering positions.

The Institute of Transportation Engineers offers professional transportation operations engineer certification. Applicants must have four years of work experience and pass a computer-based exam that covers traffic safety, control devices, geometric designs, operation analysis, and environmental considerations (www.tpcb.org).

Requirements for a Traffic Designer

Traffic designers should possess at least a bachelor's degree, preferably in civil engineering or urban planning. Some colleges will offer courses specifically geared towards traffic design. These courses will cover statistics, software analysis, transportation economics, and urban planning.

All 50 states require engineers who provide public services to be licensed as professional engineers (PE). Aspiring traffic designers must have four years of work experience and pass a state PE exam to obtain certification. Most beginning engineers will take this exam in two stages. The first stage involves taking a Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam and acquiring the necessary work experience.

The second stage consists of taking the 8-hour PE exam. Traffic designers will take a PE exam that focuses on civil and transportation engineering. Topics covered include pavement structures, driver behavior, route optimization, cost analysis, and traffic safety (www.ncees.org). Successful completion of this examination ensures that these professionals understand traffic control systems and display exceptional analytical and organizational abilities.

Traffic designers must be licensed as professional engineers. Certification can be pursued after four years of experience in the profession. The job outlook for these positions is about average.

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