Difference Between Traffic Planning, Traffic Engineering And Management


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Traffic planning, traffic engineering, and traffic management are all crucial parts of traffic policy to ensure that Australia has safe and effective roads. Although some people use these terms interchangeably, each of these deals with a different — but equally crucial — focus on maintaining road safety and traffic efficiency.

Since these three traffic concepts are equally significant, we think it is important that you have a foundational understanding of what makes each of these focuses necessary, and what makes each of these different. This way you will be able to have a firm grasp of the difference between these three traffic concepts.

Understanding The Importance Of Traffic Planning, Traffic Engineering And Management

For someone working in the world of traffic planning, traffic engineering, and traffic management it is paramount to understand the importance and difference between each of these focuses. While in simple terms each of these has a similar goal of creating safe and efficient roads in Australia, when taking a closer look, the three each focus on achieving more specific outcomes.

Traffic Planning

Traffic planning is concerned with evaluating the current traffic trends in an area and looking for solutions to streamline traffic for the future.

Traffic planners do this by viewing traffic holistically and by collaborating with key stakeholders from all parts of the community. Stakeholders could include the three levels of the Australian government, public transport, construction industries, daily commuters, railways lines, and many others.

Traffic planners will use feedback and information provided by these stakeholders — as well as their own data and research — to gain a better understanding of traffic in a certain area. With this information, planners can then plan for ways to have this traffic mitigated in the future. There are many ways this could happen, for example, using roundabouts instead of traffic lights, increasing public transport, lowering or raising speed limits, or adding or removing traffic lights from merge lanes.

Traffic Engineering

While traffic planning focuses on the bigger picture of traffic movements, traffic engineering is focused on the smaller changes that can be made to increase safety and efficiency on Australian roads. One primary focus of this is to instruct, guide, and warn road users of changes along their path of travel. For example, using different signs to show road users that their speed limits are changing, traffic calming, or road works are all forms of this. The Queensland Government also offers their own guidelines in Traffic engineering.

Traffic Management

Traffic management is the specific focus on safety for road users and road workers when construction or similar types of work are occurring on the road. Safe Work Australia is one of the key players in optimal traffic management in Australia.

One of the best examples of traffic management to protect the lives and safety of workers is lowering speed limits. Doing this not only helps to prevent accidents on work sites but maintains safety on all roads. 


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