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Traffic Engineers: Please help me decide
4

Traffic Engineers: Please help me decide

Traffic Engineers: Please help me decide

(OP)
Hello to all fellow Civil Engineers,

I live in Australia, have a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering and due to my high interest in Traffic Engineering; I intend to start a Master's degree program in Australia. However, I am not sure if it is a wise decision in terms of the number of the jobs which will be available to me after graduation. I realise that a Civil Engineer with a bachelor's degree has certainly more career options and most probably finds job faster that than a Traffic engineering Master's degree holder. In fact I am limiting myself to a narrower career path by studying master's degree in Traffic Engineering; however, I am ready to pay the price for my interest TO SOME EXTENTS.

If the chance of finding job as a Traffic Master's degree holder is less than half of that of a Bachelor's degree holder, I will give up my plan to study Masters degree.

Anyone's idea is appreciated, particularly traffic engineers

Thanks

RE: Traffic Engineers: Please help me decide

From what I've heard, Australia is big on road safety audits. I expect if you include traffic safety, and not just traffic flow and operations, you should have better prospects.

     "...students of traffic are beginning to realize the false economy of mechanically controlled traffic, and hand work by trained officers will again prevail." - Wm. Phelps Eno, ca. 1928

RE: Traffic Engineers: Please help me decide

If your Masters Degree includes traffic modelling (i.e. micro- and macro-simulation, etc.) then it should definately help to get you a job. Knowing how to use VISSIM, PARAMICS, SATURN, et al properly, (and some of the background to their calculations) is/was a prized skill, certainly in the UK.

RE: Traffic Engineers: Please help me decide

2
I still have nightmares about SATURN.

You will have better career prospects with a Masters degree than just a Bachelors degree.  You will have a better chance of getting the job you WANT with a Masters degree in the field you want to work in. I wouldn't want a Masters degree that taught me how to use industry software, though. That's not what university is for.

Last I checked (2000), Australia had traffic problems, growing cities and a growing economy.  Sounds like job security for traffic engineers.  

RE: Traffic Engineers: Please help me decide

If you are interested in traffic engineering you shoulf pursue that interest until it no longer works for you. Traffic is usually more interesting than the other transportation fields and a knowledge of traffic engineering will make you a better (and more marketable) transportation engineer.

I wanted to be a bridge engineer, but got hired to do traffic. I don't regret that change at all.

RE: Traffic Engineers: Please help me decide

(OP)
Thank you all for the comments. It would be lovely if was some comments from Aussie Engineers as well though.

 

RE: Traffic Engineers: Please help me decide

Why don't you ask some of these guys? http://au.linkedin.com/title/senior+traffic+engineer/in-au-0-Australia/

This forum is for technical discussion, not career advice, so your thread will probably be deleted. I'm sure you can find a group on LinkedIn who will be more than happy to answer your question with whatever level of demographic specificity you require.  

RE: Traffic Engineers: Please help me decide

Spot on advice from francesca.

I am not a traffic engineer by any means, but I do use roads in Aus, especially Sydney and surrounds and from where I sit there is an overwhelming need for technically competent traffic engineers who can put scientific method before political ideology.

I know the competent engineers are very likely overruled by politicians and road gang supervisors are seemingly appointed to engineering decision making tasks.   

Regards
Pat
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RE: Traffic Engineers: Please help me decide

(OP)
Thanks everyone,

@ patprimmer:

Thank you for your reply. It was interesting to have an Aussie perspective.

Would you please explain a little bit more about theroad gang supervisors?

If competent traffic engineers are going to be overruled by politicians, so maybe it is not a good idea for me to start a degree in traffic in the first place? I mean, how I am supposed to utilise my knowledge after graduation if I am going to be overruled by some people who are uneducated in traffic Eng field?

Thank you in advance.

RE: Traffic Engineers: Please help me decide

Politicians making decisions to get votes in the short term rather than a good solid result in the long term is pretty std for many industries, especially any depending on decisions on where and what to spend on infrastructure.

I have it on reasonable authority, like from a retired civil engineer who worked for a council in rural NSW close to Sydney, that many things like position and construction and what little design takes place with roundabouts, some drainage systems, installation of stop or yield signs, positioning of median strips  are the sorts of things a leading blue collar guy who cut his teeth on the physical side of road construction and has zero formal tertiary qualifications might be left to do with no consultation with any qualified engineer.

 

Regards
Pat
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RE: Traffic Engineers: Please help me decide

(OP)
@ patprimmer:

So it seems government sector is not a pleasant place to work for educated Traffic Engineers, do you reckon?

 

RE: Traffic Engineers: Please help me decide

I can't say, I only know one well and he's retired and was Civil, not Traffic and the council he worked for (Wollongong)was fired by the state government who then installed an appointed administrator to clean up the place. Much of my comment is based directly on his statements about what was wrong with Wollongong traffic systems toward the end of his career.

My opinions are also based on observation of traffic control in my area and some press releases by councils about what they did. One glaring example. Sutherland Shire put out a press release about a new safety measure at a roundabout that had a high accident rate. They planted tall grass on the roundabout and beside the approaches to reduce vision and thereby slow traffic. Needless to say the accident rate increased significantly as when entering, you could not see those in the roundabout who had not slowed down enough.

Regards
Pat
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RE: Traffic Engineers: Please help me decide

Quote:

If competent traffic engineers are going to be overruled by politicians, so maybe it is not a good idea for me to start a degree in traffic in the first place? I mean, how I am supposed to utilise my knowledge after graduation if I am going to be overruled by some people who are uneducated in traffic Eng field?
I'm afraid there's a great possibility of that happening in most areas of traffic/transportation engineering.

The big stuff (motorways, dual carriageways, bridges, etc.) requires either national or local government funds, and as such is liable to the state of the economy, the opinions of the public and the whims of elected representatives.

Smaller scale stuff (junction improvements, etc.) can be done as part of private sector development, but still has to get approval by local government engineers and then local councillors (I am assuming a similar system to the UK).

The only area where an engineer may have the upper hand is probably in road safety, as long as you've got the figures to back it up you can drive schemes to some extent, and just as importantly explain why an elected representative's pet project either isn't needed or is solving the wrong problem.

 

RE: Traffic Engineers: Please help me decide

I don't think that the conflict of sound engineering judgement and politics is unique to traffic engineering. In one place I worked, the way they prioritise highway projects has nothing to do with incremental model runs or cost/benefit analyses, it's about a bunch of politicians getting into a room and coming up with a list.  

RE: Traffic Engineers: Please help me decide

luminouss: If you are concerned with bureaucrats and government officials interfering with and overruling your professional, educated recommendations, I highly suggest you pursue a completely different profession than civil engineering - or change your expectations.  And you're vulnerable to their manipulations, whether you work on the private or public side.

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