Road traffic control
- For the road traffic science, see various articles under Road traffic management.
involves directing vehicular and pedestrian traffic around a construction zone, accident or other road disruption, thus ensuring the safety of emergency response teams, construction worker
A construction worker or builder is a professional, tradesman, or labourer who directly participates in the physical construction of infrastructure.-Construction trades:...
s and the general public.
Traffic control also includes the use of CCTV
Closed-circuit television is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors....
and other means of monitoring traffic by local or State roadways authorities to manage traffic flows and providing advice concerning traffic congestion
Traffic congestion is a condition on road networks that occurs as use increases, and is characterized by slower speeds, longer trip times, and increased vehicular queueing. The most common example is the physical use of roads by vehicles. When traffic demand is great enough that the interaction...
. This is not dealt with in this article.
Traffic controllers (TC's) are often known as "lollipop men" (usually this name only applies to TC's working near schools to aid pupils in road crossing) from the appearance of their Stop/Slow
signs, known as "Stop bats".
Traffic control is an outdoors occupation, night or day for long hours in all weathers, and is considered a dangerous occupation due to the high risk of being struck by passing vehicles. Safety equipment is vitally important. Fatigue is a big issue, as tired TC's may forget to watch their traffic, or may inadvertently turn their "Stop bats" to the "Slow" position. Many drivers are annoyed by the disruption to their route, and some are sufficiently antisocial as to aim at traffic controllers. Other drivers simply don't pay enough attention to the road, often from using their mobile (cell-) phones, or because they are tired from a night shift at work. Not a few are exceeding the posted speed limit.
Typically, a worksite will be set up with warning signage well in advance of the actual work area. This may involve (in Australia) "Roadworks Ahead
", temporary speed restrictions, "Worker Symbolic
" (a stylised workman with a pile of rubble, black sihouette on a retroflective orange background), "Reduce Speed
", "Lane Status
" boards (indicating that some lanes on a multilane will be closed), "Prepare to Stop
" and advisory signs telling what's happening (eg: Water Over Road
, Trucks Entering
, and Power Line Works Ahead
). If lanes have been closed, large flashing arrows (arrow-boards) on trailers may be utilised to give motorists hundreds of meters warning to move over. Motorists will be advised they are leaving a worksite by speed reinstatement or "End Roadworks
The worksite will usually involve reserving a part of the road for the work area. How this is done depends on the type of road: on a multi-lane road, one or more lanes will be closed off and traffic merged into the remaining lane(s), using cone
Traffic cones, also called traffic pylons, road cones, highway cones, safety cones, construction cones or witches' hats or safety wizards, are usually cone-shaped markers that are placed on roads or footpaths to temporarily redirect traffic in a safe manner...
s and "Chevron
" signs and arrow-boards to guide motorists. On a wide road (more than 3 meters per lane in Australia), traffic could be "diverted" around the work area by using cones to define a new road centerline and another line of cones around the work area. Sometimes, it is necessary to close a road and detour traffic.
Often, the road is not wide enough to permit opposing streams of traffic past the work area. Then it is necessary to use "Stop/Slow
", where each stream is allowed past the work area in turn. On an intersection, this may involve four or more streams. At signalised intersections, it may be necessary to have the traffic light
Traffic lights, which may also be known as stoplights, traffic lamps, traffic signals, signal lights, robots or semaphore, are signalling devices positioned at road intersections, pedestrian crossings and other locations to control competing flows of traffic...
Sometimes on dual carriageways, it is necessary to divert one carriageway onto the opposing carriageway, forming a "contraflow". This cannot be done "on the fly", as high-speed (100+km/h), high-volume (500 - 1000+ vehicles per hour) traffic is involved, generating a huge risk to workers. In this case advisory signs will be erected weeks or even months in advance, and new lanes defined by bollard
A bollard is a short vertical post. Originally it meant a post used on a ship or a quay, principally for mooring. The word now also describes a variety of structures to control or direct road traffic, such as posts arranged in a line to obstruct the passage of motor vehicles...
s anchored firmly to the road-base will be installed, usually at night when traffic is expected to be minimal. Programmable Variable Message Boards
may be utilised at strategic locations to inform motorists. Such "contraflow" situations also pose significant risk to pedestrians who may not be alert to traffic coming from the wrong direction.
Traffic control is governed by the Australian Standard AS 1742.3 – 2009, and by State variations. Risk management is regulated under AS/NZS 4360:1999. Traffic controllers are required to wear high-visibility clothing which meets the Australian Standard AS/NZS 4602:1999.
Personal safety is emphasised in all Australian training. This ranges from proper clothing to learning appropriate behaviour (for example, always face oncoming traffic). Clothing is considered part of PPE
—Personal Protective Equipment—which includes steel-capped boots, sunscreen, broad-brim hats, gloves and sunglasses.
The traffic control process usually starts with a traffic control plan(traffic control plan
). A traffic control crew may consist of one person running a simple diversion or closure of a cul-de-sac, up to multiple two- or three-person crews for a complex task. One example of such a complex task is the transport of very wide loads taking all available roadspace, over several kilometers, usually on an arterial road or highway. In these cases, the affected roads can be closed or contraflowed for the entire day, creating enormous disruption to motorists. Management of the event involves monitoring and closing all intersections, Stop/Slow
to work traffic streams through partially closed intersections, and detours. The amount of signage required can be staggering, needing some hours to put in place. Normally a single two-person crew with one ute
A pickup truck is a light motor vehicle with an open-top rear cargo area .-Definition:...
is sufficient for most jobs.
Not all TC's are employed by dedicated traffic management companies. Many construction companies and government authorities employ their own traffic management. In these cases, TC's will work in other capacities when traffic management is not required.
Traffic control is generally not seen as a career for young people, but rather as a stop-gap while something better is sought. However, older people are often valued by employers for their life-experience, and find that the relatively light manual labour compensates for the discomforts and rigours of the job. There is a career path, but it is dictated by one's own ability and willingness to work.
Accreditation course standards and variations to the Australian Standards are regulated by Main Roads Western Australia (MRWA), part of the Ministry of Planning and Infrastructure.
In Western Australia, use of the Stop/Slow
bat is authorised under Regulation 83 of the Road Traffic Code 2000—it is an offence to disobey a traffic controller's bat, punishable by 3 demerit points and 3 penalty units
Breaches of statute law in Australia are usually prescribed in terms of penalty units or PUs. To establish a fine, multiply the number of penalty units by the amount....
(about Au$175). Other States have similar provisions.
Traffic controllers must be accredited in Basic Worksite Traffic Management BCC3028A
and the Worksite Traffic Controller Course BCC1014A
. These qualifications must be renewed after three years, and a refresher course is necessary. The courses take about 4 hours each, and are designed as inductions to on-the-job training.
The Advanced Worksite Traffic Management (AWTM)
requires two years experience as a qualified TC as a minimum prerequisite, and must also be renewed after three years. Roadworks Traffic Managers
can be accredited with a minimum of five years experience, current "Road Safety Auditor" accreditation and current AWTM accreditation. This qualification is also valid for three years.
All employers require drug screening at least annually and often randomly; many employers require daily blood/alcohol tests; some require police clearance checks. Zero-tolerance is universal. Traffic controllers are usually employed on a casual basis, with wages around Au$16 to Au$25 per hour.
In BC, WorkSafeBC regulates the training of Traffic Control Persons (TCPs), stating that TCPs must be trained in a manner acceptable to the Board. This ensures a high level of training for this high-risk occupation. Currently, the only acceptable course in the province is a two-day session which includes theory and practical components. More information can be obtained from the Construction Safety Network
In Nova Scotia training is regulated by the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. There is a one-day course for TCPs and a two-day course for Temporary Workplace Signers. Signers are responsible for the setup of signs, cones etc., and making sure the setup complies with the NS Temporary Workplace Traffic Control Manual
Although the Federal Highway Administration
The Federal Highway Administration is a division of the United States Department of Transportation that specializes in highway transportation. The agency's major activities are grouped into two "programs," the Federal-aid Highway Program and the Federal Lands Highway Program...
specifies standards and guidelines through the MUTCD
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices is a document issued by the Federal Highway Administration of the United States Department of Transportation to specify the standards by which traffic signs, road surface markings, and signals are designed, installed, and used...
which apply to the usage of traffic control equipment, individual state and local agencies can provide variations or additions to these standards.
The transportation system in the United States is complex and extensive. Traffic volumes, types of vehicles, driving styles, population density, speed limits, and many other factors vary dramatically from one region to the next. As a result, highway traffic control measures (including type of equipment and implementation), are not strictly consistent. Federal Guidelines do not address certification methods for traffic controllers, flaggers, or other personnel responsible for traffic control. This responsibility is managed on a state or local agency level, and therefore certification requirements are not consistent and are administered locally. Safety standards (irrespective of traffic control) are mandated by OSHA
The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. It was created by Congress of the United States under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, signed by President Richard M. Nixon, on December 29, 1970...
as well as state-level occupational safety departments.
In the fields of architecture and civil engineering, construction is a process that consists of the building or assembling of infrastructure. Far from being a single activity, large scale construction is a feat of human multitasking...
traffic control company operates in the same basic way as any other construction company. Companies submit a bid for a job, the lowest bid is accepted (except in the case of disadvantaged companies), and the labor is provided to the contractor or agency in charge. Typically speaking, flaggers work in groups of 5 to 10 under a TCS, or Traffic Control Supervisor. The TCS is responsible for placing the flaggers correctly, ensuring that they receive the proper breaks and supervision, and placing the cautionary signs (such as Road Work Ahead, One Lane Road Ahead, and Uneven Lanes).
While construction traffic control in the U.S. used to be a widely unionized profession, it is now dominated by private business and wages are not controlled by the union.
Traffic management in Scotland is handled by Traffic Scotland and Transport Scotland
Transport Scotland was created on 1 January 2006 as the national transport agency of Scotland. It is an Executive Agency of the Scottish Government's Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Department and accountable to Scottish Ministers...
. In Scotland, as in the rest of the UK, the most iconic image of a traffic controller is in the form of a "lollipop man" or "lollipop woman" who aids children in road crossing on their journey to school.
- Quality assurance
Quality assurance, or QA for short, is the systematic monitoring and evaluation of the various aspects of a project, service or facility to maximize the probability that minimum standards of quality are being attained by the production process...
- Quality control
Quality control, or QC for short, is a process by which entities review the quality of all factors involved in production. This approach places an emphasis on three aspects:...
- Road traffic control device
Traffic Control Devices are markers, signs and signal devices used to inform, guide and control the traffic and the pedestrians. These devices are usually placed adjacent, over and/or along the highways, roads, traffic facilities and other public areas that require traffic control.The most popular...
- Road-traffic safety
The term road traffic safety is about the risk of a person being killed or seriously injured while using the road network as a pedestrian, cyclist, motorist or user of on road public transport...
- Traffic guard
A traffic guard, "traffic controller", "flagman", or "flagger" is a person who directs traffic through a construction site or other temporary traffic control zone past an area using signs or flags. They are responsible for maintaining the safety and efficiency of traffic, as well as the safety of...