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Traffic control is the process of controlling traffic on roads and construction work sites. Proper traffic control reduces the risk of accidents and injuries when working around traffic. Keep reading to learn more, including how to get a job in traffic control.

What Does Traffic Control Do?

Traffic control refers to the processes used to direct the flow of vehicles, pedestrians, and machinery. The most basic forms of traffic control include signs and barriers. However, work completed on or near a road may require temporary changes to vehicular traffic.

Road crashes account for about one-third of all occupational fatalities in Australia. Many of these fatalities occur on work sites on or near public roads. Traffic control plans aim to reduce the occurrence of these fatalities by keeping vehicles and people moving safely around the work area.

The person that implements traffic control plans and directs traffic is often called a “traffic controller”. They monitor traffic flow and direct road users to ensure a safe work environment. Some of the duties of a traffic controller include:

  • Using signs and a stop/slow bat to direct traffic
  • Setting up signs and barriers
  • Maintaining traffic control equipment
  • Implementing traffic control schemes
  • Communicating with workers using handheld devices
  • Using personal protective equipment

A traffic controller implements traffic control plans before work begins on a job site with vehicles or when working on a road. The traffic control plan helps create safe routes for passers-by and workers. Traffic controllers may use signs or barriers to establish the routes and help direct vehicles using signs or hand signals.

What Industry Is Traffic Control?

Most traffic control jobs are found in the construction industry. A traffic controller can divert traffic around a work site or control the flow of traffic on a construction site with vehicles and moving machinery.

Traffic control is often confused with air traffic control services. Air traffic control is used to help maintain the safety of the air using flight plans. Air traffic controllers help pilots navigate busy airports and need to understand a long list of instrument flight rules.

Traffic control in Australia typically refers to directing traffic on a road network. These duties are typically performed for the construction industry but may also be needed by government agencies completing roadworks.

How to Work in Traffic Control

Traffic controllers typically work in the construction industry or for traffic management companies. Here are the steps involved in finding work in traffic control:

  • Seek entry-level employment
  • Complete construction induction training
  • Complete traffic control training
  • Apply for a traffic control card
  • Apply for traffic control jobs

As most jobs require at least some work experience, individuals wanting to work in traffic control should start with an entry-level position in a relevant industry, such as construction or mining.

Construction induction training is required for construction jobs. It is also a prerequisite for traffic control positions, making it the first training course that you should complete. After obtaining your white card, you can enrol in traffic control practical training courses.

How to Get a Job in Traffic Control

Getting a job in traffic control involves selecting an industry, researching the job requirements, and completing any necessary training. The largest employers of traffic controllers include construction companies and traffic management companies.

You can also use online job search sites to help with your job search. Some of the leading job sites in Australia include:12kll

As most traffic control jobs are found in the construction industry, you should focus your search on construction jobs. Traffic management companies also hire traffic controllers but may require additional experience.

How to Apply for a Traffic Control Job

After finding a job that suits your skills and experience, complete the initial application form. Most employers allow you to apply online. Before applying, ensure that you meet the requirements for the job and can produce any necessary documents.

You may need to verify that you have the required training to work as a traffic controller. Keep your traffic control card in a safe place. If you have lost your card, request a replacement card as soon as possible.

What Do You Need for Traffic Control?

Traffic control requires training and accreditation. You need to complete specific traffic control training courses offered through registered training organisations (RTOs) such as AlertForce. Depending on the requirements in your state or territory, you may need to complete the following courses:

  • RIIWHS201E – Work Safely and Follow WHS Procedures
  • RIIWHS205E – Controlling Traffic with Stop-Slow Bats
  • RIIWHS206E – Controlling Traffic with Portable Traffic Control Devices
  • RIICOM201E – Communicating in the Workplace

These courses are sometimes bundled together as part of a training package. Completing these courses is considered the minimum requirement for entering the traffic control industry. Some of the main learning outcomes include:

  • Understanding how to direct people using a stop/slow bat
  • Directing traffic using portable traffic control devices
  • Knowing how to implement traffic guidance schemes (TGSs)
  • Assessing and monitoring weather conditions and road conditions
  • Completing a risk assessment of the worksite
  • Following all applicable road safety rules and legislation
  • Maintaining and submitting incident reports

In some states, such as South Australia, you need to complete RIIWHS205E and RIIWHS302E (Implement Traffic Management Plans). However, other states only require the RIIWHS302E course for traffic management. An RTO can ensure that you complete the required training in your region.

Traffic Management Training

Individuals that construct traffic management plans and traffic guidance schemes may require additional training. This may include supervisors and managers responsible for planning work activities on or near roadways. Along with the courses discussed, a traffic manager may need to complete:

  • RIICWD503E – Prepare Traffic Management Plans
  • RIIRIS402E – Carry Out the Risk Management Process
  • RIIRIS301D – Apply the Risk Management Process
  • RIIWHS303 – Position and Program Portable Traffic Control Devices

If you have not already completed RIIWHS302E (Implement Traffic Management Plans), you will need to complete the course as part of the training for traffic management.

What Cards Do You Need for Traffic Control?

You need to obtain a card or licence from the state or territory where you work. Traffic control cards are issued by the following authorities:

  • New South Wales – SafeWork NSW
  • Queensland – Department of Transport and Main Roads
  • South Australia – Department of Infrastructure and Transport (DIT)
  • Tasmania – Department of State Growth
  • Western Australia – Main Roads Western Australia
  • ACT – Roads ACT

The name of the traffic control card depends on the region. In NSW, the traffic control card was previously called the “blue card”. It was recently replaced with the Traffic Control Work Training Card (TCWTC).

Most states also accept cards from other states. However, you should always review the latest requirements before seeking work in another region, as you may need to complete additional training or apply for a new licence.

What Tickets Do You Need for Traffic Control?

Individuals and businesses may need to obtain approval before implementing traffic management plans in most states and territories. For example, you may need a traffic management permit or ticket before working on or near public roads.

In Tasmania, the traffic control ticket is called a traffic management permit. In NSW, you need a road occupancy licence. However, these tickets are obtained by the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) and not individual employees.

Under the Work Health and Safety Act, a person running a business or undertaking (PCBU) is obliged to ensure the health and safety of workers as much as reasonably possible. They must also prevent other persons from being put at risk, which means protecting road users when working near roads.

To help ensure the safety of road users and workers, you typically need permission for roadway access. This often involves obtaining a ticket or permit. Some states also restrict the types of equipment that may be used for temporary traffic management.

How Much Does Traffic Control Get Paid?

According to Indeed, the base salary for a traffic controller is just over $32 per hour or $63,000 per year. The base salary for a traffic controller is comparable to the salary for a construction labourer, which is about $62,900 per year. A traffic manager may make over $100,000 per year. lists an average salary of $81,325 per year for traffic controllers and $59,606 per year for entry-level positions. The pay may also vary across the country. Some of the highest-paying traffic controller jobs are found in Western Australia and New South Wales.


Traffic control is necessary for protecting workers and people passing by when working on or near roads. Vehicles on construction sites also require guidance to reduce the risk of injuries and accidents. Completing traffic control training allows you to help control traffic and contribute to a safer workplace.

Traffic controllers need to complete several courses, including a course on directing traffic using a stop/slow bat. After completing the training, you can apply for a traffic control licence or card in your state or territory. Only then can you start working as a traffic controller. To increase your career prospects, sign up for an upcoming traffic control training course from AlertForce.

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