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Engineering Trends: Traffic Engineers

Traffic has become a major source of stress in the modern world. People are finding that in order to live where they want to live, commutes sometimes can take from two to four hours per day.

Traffic engineers study the problems and solutions that can improve the lives of millions of people.  Traffic engineers study all aspects of traffic including elements such as roads, bridges, traffic signs, and traffic lights.

Crosswalk placement is also something traffic engineers look at. The suburbs are no longer filled mainly with family’s headed by someone who drives a car to work. More and more we’re seeing that people in the suburbs are seeking public transportation and this means that many need to walk a certain distance to the bus stop or train station. Many of these kinds of commuters are sometimes having to cross multi-lane highways and boulevards against fast-moving traffic.   Fatalities in these situations have risen.

Traffic engineers are called upon to design and place crosswalks so that people have more places to safely cross, large and busy roads. Other solutions include creating wider and safer median islands where people can wait for a safe time to cross.  Another aspect of traffic engineering is to place traffic light systems and/or replace older systems with newer, more intelligent light systems.

Traffic engineering is a segment of Civil Engineering and just like many other areas of engineering, it is advancing rapidly with new technology.   For example, sensors have been developed that can be used in light systems to adjust for changing needs at different times of day.

As well as Civil Engineering, Traffic Engineering is related to other disciplines such as, Transport engineering, Highway engineering, Urban Planning.