Transportation Engineer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Develops plans for surface transportation projects, according to established engineering standards and state or federal construction policy. Prepares designs, specifications, or estimates for transportation facilities. Plans modifications of existing streets, highways, or freeways to improve traffic flow.

This career is part of the Architecture and Construction cluster Design/Pre-Construction pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Checks construction plans, design calculations, or cost estimations to ensure completeness, accuracy, or conformity to engineering standards or practices.
  • Designs or prepares plans for new transportation systems or parts of systems, such as airports, commuter trains, highways, streets, bridges, drainage structures, or roadway lighting.
  • Confers with contractors, utility companies, or government agencies to discuss plans, specifications, or work schedules.
  • Designs or engineers drainage, erosion, or sedimentation control systems for transportation projects.
  • Prepares project budgets, schedules, or specifications for labor or materials.
  • Plans alteration or modification of existing transportation structures to improve safety or function.
  • Investigates traffic problems and recommends methods to improve traffic flow or safety.
  • Prepares final project layout drawings that include details such as stress calculations.
  • Estimates transportation project costs.
  • Presents data, maps, or other information at construction-related public hearings or meetings.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Traffic Operations Engineer --
  • Airport Manager -- Plans, directs, and coordinates the operations, construction, and maintenance of airport facilities in accordance with government and commission laws, rules, regulations, and policies.
  • Design Manager --
  • Engineer --
  • Project Engineer --
  • Rail Engineer --
  • Roadway Designer --
  • Roadway Engineer --
  • Traffic Engineer -- Develops plans for safe and efficient roads, streets, highways and traffic-related systems.