A traffic controller---also known as a flagger---is someone who directs traffic through a hazardous construction site or other temporary obstruction to normal traffic flow. Using a set of public safety guidelines, the traffic controller allows traffic to move through these zones safely and quickly as possible. Along with controlling traffic, this professional has a variety of duties to ensure traffic safety.
Subsequent duties go along with directing traffic. Drawing up plans for traffic management during construction jobs is a responsibility of this individual. He or she performs general inspection of traffic control devices that will be used everyday. The traffic controller notifies the appropriate personnel of any conditions that could be hazardous to drivers or pedestrians during the course of construction or other incidents that stop normal traffic flow. Inspecting road cuts where water, gas, sewer and telephones are to be placed is the duty of this professional as well. It is the traffic controller's job to inspect the general quality of these materials and scheduled maintenance. When road closures occur in surrounding towns of the city, the traffic controller works in compliance with these towns to keep the facilities, drivers and pedestrians safe.
The professional in this industry holds at least a high school diploma. He or she should also complete a certification-training course given by the American Traffic Safety Services Association or any Department of Transportation (DOT) program within that particular state. Some states accept the high school diploma along with experience of a certain number of years. Other employers want candidates to complete more certification programs after accepting a traffic controller position within a certain time frame.
The work atmosphere of a traffic controller is basically outdoors. The controller is constantly sitting and walking. Hand-eye coordination is important so that the traffic controller can operate equipment and hand-held computer devices. He or she might have to talk loudly or listen intently. There is also a good amount of stooping, climbing and kneeling required for this position.
Persons working in this position are skilled commercial driver's license (CDL) drivers. They possess excellent written and verbal communication skills. The traffic controller uses initiative to work independently without supervision. He or she can work well under pressure. This professional possesses computer skills to manipulate computer applications such as word processing programs, spreadsheets and databases. Working as a team player, the traffic controller utilizes interpersonal skills and solves problems as an analytical thinker. He or she also works as a trainer to train other staff in traffic control procedures.
As of 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, traffic controllers earn an average of $26,200 a year. Annual income is projected to increase to $29,600 by the year 2018. Salary is determined by location and previous experience.
- Photo Credit traffic control image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com
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