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:

  • 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.
  • Investigates traffic problems and recommends methods to improve traffic flow or safety.
  • Checks construction plans, design calculations, or cost estimations to ensure completeness, accuracy, or conformity to engineering standards or practices.
  • Prepares project budgets, schedules, or specifications for labor or materials.
  • Prepares administrative, technical, or statistical reports on traffic-operation matters, such as accidents, safety measures, or pedestrian volume or practices.
  • Evaluates traffic control devices or lighting systems to determine need for modification or expansion.
  • Evaluates transportation systems or traffic control devices or lighting systems to determine need for modification or expansion.
  • Estimates transportation project costs.
  • Models transportation scenarios to evaluate the impacts of activities such as new development or to identify possible solutions to transportation problems.
  • Confers with contractors, utility companies, or government agencies to discuss plans, specifications, or work schedules.

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 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:

  • Project Manager --
  • Traffic Operations Engineer --