Traffic controllers manage traffic on highways and construction sites, ensure site security, and the safe transportation of equipment. To learn how to preform traffic control, see our online traffic control course.
- Traffic control workers have a promising job outlook, with an annual salary of $39,099.
- Usually traffic controllers need a high school diploma or GED.
- The first priority of traffic controllers is to ensure the construction site’s safety.
What Is Traffic Control?
On the nation’s highway system, drivers can anticipate an active work zone 1 out of every 100 miles. Every year, work zone traffic collisions cause more than 40,000 injuries. Traffic controllers regulate traffic on highways and construction sites, keep jobsites secure, and guarantee the safe transit of equipment. They keep the paths for pedestrians and cars outside the site’s entry and direct traffic as vehicles arrive or exit the area. To ensure safety, one of their responsibilities involves managing traffic during emergencies or other disruptions. They manage and oversee traffic and transportation investigations.
What a Traffic Control Officer Does
As we said before, you need to be organized, knowledgeable, and competent to carry out traffic control duties. You direct traffic during construction projects to make it easier for drivers to avoid hazardous zones. Your duties include using flags to show potential hazards so that cars, pedestrians, and workers are all protected.
You redirect traffic and enforce relevant safety laws and speed limits using barricades, flags, traffic cones, signs, and hand signals. It’s part of your job as a traffic controller to stand in a construction zone on a road or highway and control the flow of traffic, sometimes in bad weather. Physical endurance and the capacity for sustained attention are both required to effectively do your job.
Traffic Controller Jobs
In terms of education, traffic controllers usually have a high school diploma or something equivalent. However, earning a higher academic degree in business, criminal justice, or a comparable sector may be beneficial. Traffic controllers need a certain skill set, including knowledge of construction zones and safety regulations. Candidates with strong math, organizational, and problem-solving abilities are typically preferred by employers.
Job Outlook for Traffic Controllers
No specialized training or certifications are required for a construction traffic controller. Along with a high school diploma, candidates need to have a current driver’s license and to pass a drug test as prerequisites for employment in this area. You must take and pass a safety education course. We’ll go more into detail about the certification offered by Hard Hat Training later in the article.
Recent research shows 21.0% of traffic controllers have a bachelor’s degree, while 2.4% hold a master’s degree. Despite the fact that some traffic controllers hold college degrees, becoming one is still attainable with a high school diploma or GED.
According to recent studies and data, 66.2% of traffic controllers are men and 33.8% are women. In America, the average yearly wage for traffic controllers is $40,000, or $19 per hour. The lower 10% of traffic controllers earn less than $24,000 annually, while the highest 10% earn over $63,000 annually.
When it comes to beginning a career as a traffic controller, certain states are better than others. In terms of salary, Alaska, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Michigan are the top states. In Alaska, traffic controllers earn an average pay of $47,634, whereas they would average $45,117 and $44,556 in Connecticut and Rhode Island, respectively. Although the average salary for traffic controllers in Michigan is only $44,479, this is still greater than the national average.
Training and Other Requirements
Traffic control persons need specialized training in creating, installing, and maintaining traffic control signs, patterns, and devices. As part of their job, traffic persons will research influencing factors on traffic conditions as well as the efficiency and use of traffic signals. All employees should receive instruction on how to work near moving vehicles.
While they often work under a traffic engineer, traffic control persons have to be fiercely independent. Their job will require them to engage the public in conversation on traffic laws and regulations. It pays to be quick on your feet and to remember information well. Being technologically savvy will help, especially as workers use equipment like cameras, speed sensors, drafting kits, message signs, and computer software.
Aside from safety certification, new traffic controllers gain the necessary knowledge and skill on the job. On-the-job training for traffic controllers usually lasts 2 to 4 years after they are hired. It’s important to understand the duties involved with being a traffic controller before making the decision to become one.
The first priority of traffic controllers is ensuring the security and safety of the construction site. This is not for the faint of heart as they work on construction sites with a lot of heavy equipment and traffic. On the project site, traffic controllers prevent accidents and fatalities. Most employment for traffic controllers has a few standard responsibilities, listed below:
- Make sure that all vehicles are parked in designated areas and that the roads are free of debris and hazards.
- Ensure that no vehicles are blocking the path of pedestrians or other vehicles.
- Supervise the vehicles entering and exiting the site to ensure they do not exceed speed limits or cause damage to property.
- Enforce safety procedures so that pedestrians do not interfere with construction work.
- Direct driving and walking traffic around a construction site.
- Help make sure that all construction workers wear appropriate safety equipment (hard hats, safety glasses) at all times.
- Ensure that visitors wear safety equipment if necessary.
- Display appropriate signage throughout the work zone.
Getting some experience working in construction is a big step in becoming a traffic controller. The most effective approach is to volunteer for a few days with your neighborhood council or building society. You’ll be able to observe how things operate and gain an understanding of what it’s like to be in charge of ensuring others’ safety. After gaining some experience, if you want to continue working as a traffic controller, be sure to enroll in classes that will give you both the necessary instruction and practical experience.
- Personal Protection Equipment – All employees who may be at risk from moving vehicles or heavy machinery should wear high-visibility safety gear that complies with OSHA Requirements.
- Temporary Traffic Barriers – Temporary traffic barriers should be built along the worksite depending on clearance from adjacent traffic, traffic speed, operation duration, and type, time of day, and traffic volume.
- Speed Regulation – It is important to limit the speed of vehicle traffic, primarily through regulated speed zoning, funneling, lane reduction, or flagger use, or uniformed law enforcement.
- Worker Safety Planning – A qualified worker should carry out a hazard analysis for the working site and required job classifications in the activity area.
Traffic Controller Online Courses
For those wanting to become traffic controllers, or those wishing to further their careers, safety training is a must. A training program should cover the fundamentals of how to safely perform traffic control management.
You will need to learn how to handle traffic on the job site and make sure that everything is done safely and effectively. At Hard Hat Training, our online training covers a variety of traffic control-related topics, such as:
- Basic principles of traffic control
- Requisite tools for safety and success
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) that must be worn
- How to handle extreme weather conditions, especially working outdoors
- Potential hazards and how to reduce or eliminate them.
- Examining a work zone before allowing vehicles to pass through it
Does OSHA Require Certification?
OSHA does require training and certification for traffic control persons and flaggers. Flaggers should be trained and certified to use the signaling techniques by the proper authorities. It’s important for drivers, equipment operators, and other workers to be aware of the paths of construction vehicles.
The hand signals used on the jobsite must be understood by signal personnel and equipment operators. Each vehicle on the jobsite has visual restrictions and “blind areas” which operators and workers on foot must be aware of. Workers who are on foot should wear class 1, 2, or 3 high-visibility safety gear.
During highway construction, utility work, and maintenance operations traffic controllers must consider all the demands of other road users through a temporary traffic control zone. Temporary traffic control can help incident, maintenance, utility, and construction zones can help during unforeseen or unusual circumstances that affect road users.
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) requires motorists to drive cautiously through construction zones. Although we hope that all drivers will use caution, temporary traffic control tactics still require extra vigilance.
Certification will equip you with the most recent rules, codes, and procedures if you are interested in working as a construction traffic controller. Any construction company worth its salt will always take safety seriously. Use these key guidelines to ensure the security of work zones:
- From planning to design and construction, every project should focus on the accessibility and safety of workers and road users
- Road users’ freedom of movement should be as unimpeded as possible
- Provide clear and encouraging instructions to drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians
- The work zone must undergo regular day and night inspections to maintain acceptable levels of activities
- During the duration of the construction, maintain roadside safety
- Maintain good public relations