Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning – Frequently Asked Questions

23 Feb, 2023
Traffic engineering and transport planning are interrelated fields that play a crucial role in the efficient and safe movement of people and goods within a transportation system. Effective traffic engineering and transport planning is essential for reducing congestion, improving safety, and promoting economic growth.

What is a traffic engineer?

A traffic engineer is a professional who focuses on the physical and operational aspects of the transportation system, such as traffic signal timing, road design, and management of incidents. They use their knowledge of engineering, traffic modelling, and planning to improve the efficiency and safety of roads, highways, and intersections. This may include designing traffic control systems, such as traffic signals and signs, analysing traffic data, and developing traffic management plans. They may also be involved in the design of new infrastructure, such as roads and intersections, and the retrofitting of existing infrastructure to improve traffic flow.

What is a transportation planner?

A transportation planner is a professional who is responsible for the development, design, and implementation of transportation systems, policies and infrastructure. They may be involved in long-term planning and forecasting for transportation needs, as well as short-term operational and tactical planning. They seek to improve mobility, accessibility and transportation options for the general public and specific communities, using urban design and engineering principles. They commonly work with traffic engineers, community groups, government agencies and other stakeholders to develop plans and policies while gathering input and support for transportation projects.

What is a swept path assessment?

A swept path assessment is a method of evaluating the movements of a vehicle to determine if it can safely navigate a specific roadway or parking facility. It typically involves the use of computer software that simulates the movement of a vehicle, such as a car, truck or bus, through a series of manoeuvres including turning, reversing, and parking. The software generates a graphic representation of the vehicle’s path, known as a swept path, which is then used to evaluate the vehicle’s ability to navigate the road or parking facility without striking any objects or other vehicles.

Swept path assessments are commonly used in the design and planning of transportation infrastructure, such as roads, highways, and parking facilities, to ensure that the design accommodates the largest vehicles that will use the facility. They can also be used to evaluate existing facilities and identify potential issues with vehicle movements. Swept path assessments can help in identifying design issues, such as tight curves or limited clearance, and can aid in developing solutions to these issues.

What does ‘integrated transport and land use planning’ mean, and why is it important?

Integrated transport and land use planning refers to the process of aligning the planning and development of transportation systems with the planning and development of land use in a region. This means that transportation plans and land use plans are developed in a coordinated way, taking into account the relationship between the two and how they impact one another.

This approach is important because transportation and land use are closely linked. Land use patterns can have a significant impact on transportation demand and vice versa. For example, if a region has a high concentration of jobs and housing in one area, it can lead to increased traffic congestion and a greater demand for public transportation. On the other hand, if a region has a dispersed land use pattern with low-density housing, it can lead to increased dependence on cars and more difficulty in providing public transportation. By considering both transportation and land use together, integrated transport and land use planning can help to create more sustainable, efficient, and liveable communities.

What does CTMP stand for?

A Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) is a plan that outlines the strategies and measures to be taken to ensure the safety of workers, the public, and the environment during the construction of a road or transportation infrastructure project. The goal of a CTMP is to minimise the impact of construction on traffic flow and safety while ensuring that access to businesses, properties, and emergency services are maintained during the construction period. A CTMP typically includes information on traffic control, detours, and lane closures, as well as measures to protect workers and the public from the effects of construction, such as dust and noise. The CTMP is developed by the construction project team in coordination with transportation and traffic engineers, and is reviewed and approved by the relevant government agencies before construction begins.

What is a Car Parking Demand Assessment?

A car parking demand assessment is a process of evaluating the need for parking in a specific area, typically in relation to a new development or transportation project. It involves the collection and analysis of data on the current and projected demand for parking, as well as the availability of existing parking facilities. The assessment takes into consideration factors such as land use, transportation patterns, and parking regulations to determine the number of parking spaces that are needed to meet the demand. It can also consider the use of alternative transportation options, such as public transportation, biking and walking, to reduce the need for parking and promote more sustainable transport options.

What is a Traffic Impact Assessment?

A Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) is a process of evaluating the potential impact of a proposed development or transportation project on the existing transportation system. It is typically used to evaluate the impact on traffic flow, capacity, and safety, and to identify any potential issues that need to be addressed before the project is approved.

A TIA typically includes the collection and analysis of data on existing traffic conditions, such as traffic volumes, speeds, and crash history, as well as a forecast of future traffic conditions based on the proposed development or project. This information is then used to evaluate the impact of the proposed development or project on the transportation system, and to identify any potential issues or concerns, such as increased congestion or changes to traffic patterns.

What is a Master Plan?

A Master Plan is a comprehensive document that outlines the overall vision, goals, and strategies for the development of a specific piece of land. It typically includes information on land use, zoning, transportation, infrastructure, and amenities, as well as details on how the development will be phased in over time. The master plan serves as a guide for the development and management of the land, and is used by developers, government officials, and community members to ensure that the land is developed in a sustainable and responsible way.

What are the traffic impacts of renewable energy projects?

Traffic impacts of renewable energy projects can vary depending on the specific project, but some potential impacts include:

  • Increased traffic during construction: The construction of renewable energy projects, such as wind or solar farms, can result in increased traffic on local roads as workers, heavy equipment and materials are transported to and from the site.
  • Increased truck traffic: The delivery of large components, such as wind turbine blades or solar panels, can result in increased truck traffic on local roads including oversize vehicles.
  • Changes in road usage: The construction and operation of renewable energy projects can result in changes to road usage patterns, such as the closure of some roads or the creation of new access points.
  • Changes in traffic flow: The construction and operation of renewable energy projects can result in changes to traffic flow patterns, such as increased congestion at peak times.
  • Safety concerns: The increased traffic and changes to road usage patterns can result in safety concerns for both construction workers and local residents.

It’s worth noting that these impacts can be mitigated by proper planning, traffic and transportation studies, and community engagement during the project development phase.

What are mechanical parking systems?

Mechanical parking systems are a type of automated parking system that use lifts, turntables, or other devices to move cars into parking spaces. These systems are designed to maximise the number of parking spaces in a given area by stacking cars vertically or horizontally and reducing the need for drive aisles.

Common types of mechanical parking systems include:

  • Car stackers: These systems use a stacker lift to lift cars up and down to different levels of a parking structure. Cars are parked on a platform that is then raised or lowered to move the car into a vertical position.
  • Turntables: These systems use a turntable to rotate cars into a parking space. Cars are driven onto a turntable, which then rotates to align the car with a parking space.

Mechanical parking systems can be costly to install and maintain however they are a useful option to increase the number of parking spaces in a small area.

Written by Oliver Mihaila - Senior Traffic Engineer

Written by Oliver Mihaila - Senior Traffic Engineer

My role at Amber allows me to work with highly talented people who are driven to make our communities better. I enjoy using data to improve the efficiency and safety of our road networks and transportation systems as it is critically important to ensure people can move around in a more sustainable way as our cities grow.
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Amber Organisation acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

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