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traffic engineering

Frequently Asked Questions About Traffic Engineering

Roadways are an important feature of modern day society, evolved from the ancient dirt and cobblestone roads of history. Yet, now more than ever, their existence has created as many problems as solutions. That’s because the modern world depends on reliable transportation infrastructure, and any problems with roadways can affect thousands, even millions, of people in a year.

When someone needs to get from point A to point B, they undoubtedly get in their car and take their desired route to their destination. The problem, of course, are the other drivers on the road. Traffic congestion leads to poor driving, which leads to unsafe conditions. That’s why traffic engineering exists, to help with transportation planning and traffic design so that things run smoothly.

Even though everyone is exposed to the efforts of traffic engineering on a daily basis, many don’t know what the job entails. So here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about traffic engineering.

What is traffic engineering?

In essence, traffic engineering is the planning and designing of safe traffic operations in all areas where heavy auto traffic is a possibility, such as roads, highways, terminals, and more. Not only do engineers consider roadway design and the interaction of various transportation infrastructure, but they also consider the psychology and habits of those who use the transportation system. Only by factoring in both variables, the human element and the architectural element, can efficient roadways be designed.

How do the engineers solve traffic problems?

Civil engineers are professionally trained to look at the situation and identify the problem and its cause. They take traffic counts, look at speed data, analyze accident statistics, consider roadway conditions, and even conduct further research. Civil engineering companies may even utilize their fellow engineering peers for solutions. There are many different variables that are factored into a traffic engineer’s “diagnosis” before they implement a solution.

What are traffic control devices?

Traffic control devices are things like signal lights, road signs, speed bumps, roadway markings, roundabouts, and devices used to regulate traffic. Things like traffic lights, stop signs, speed indicators, and even a “Moose X-ing” signs are all considered traffic control devices.

Is a speed limit actually effective?

While speed limits are posted to protect drivers and pedestrians from the dangers of driving and roadway conditions, they often don’t have a significant effect on actual driver speed. The reason is that most drivers are familiar with an appropriate speed for the particular road they are on, and when traffic engineers install a speed limit, it is often close to what people are already going. Limits that are too low will often make even the most law-abiding drivers violate the speed limit, so engineers take into account the proper speed for the area.

America’s roadways are essential to the commerce and stability of this country, and roughly more than one-third of the major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. With the help of traffic engineers and a civil engineering company, these issues can be addressed to make driving in America efficient.

If your municipality has a traffic problem that needs to be fixed, contact our civil engineering company today.

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