What is a Traffic Controller

A Traffic Controller is a qualified person who works under the supervision of a Site Traffic Management Supervisor (STMS). This means that you work in a team environment, taking instructions from your STMS who has overall responsibility of the TTM worksite.

There are many people who are not looking for a career working in an office environment and who love the challenge of working outside. If you are considering a career in Temporary Traffic Management (TTM) as a Traffic Controller (TC), then read on, and who knows where the road may lead you.

For those that have little to no experience with the TTM industry, the first thing people think of when they hear the word ‘TC’, is a person holding a lollipop or stop/go paddle and directing traffic through or around a worksite. In most cases this role will be a Traffic Controllers main duty, but for those that want to expand their experience, there are many other roles a TC can take on.

Often once a TC had gained some experience working on the road, they will feel ready to take the next step in their career. This is where the STMS takes on a role of a mentor and is able to delegate control of a worksite to the TC to manage. This is the first step for a TC to experience what it is like to be in control of a TTM worksite, while the STMS is attending to other duties or managing other worksites. A TC that has taken this leap of faith will experience a whole new world opening for them and in most cases, they will be inspired to move on to becoming a Level 1 and then 2/3 Practicing STMS.


Currently there is a one-day, theory-based training session that takes place in a classroom setting. At the end, in most cases, you will be given a temporary card that will confirm you are a qualified TC. This qualification will then give you access to start working as a TC on Worksites.  

We are aware that in some cases people learn better in a hands-on practical environment rather than in a theory-based classroom environment. For this reason, it is crucial for a TC to start off slowly and systematically develop these new skills under the guidance of a STMS that also appreciates the values of training and sharing knowledge in the TTM space.

Many TTM companies have identified stand out STMSs best suited to training newly qualified traffic controllers and help them gain the necessary experience. Willingness to learn will play a major part in the progression and development of the individual.  Many of these STMSs act as mentors within their company are already playing a crucial part within the TTM space to develop and up-skill the next generation of traffic controllers. 


What is a TC (Traffic Controller)

To summarise, we now know that a TC;

  • – is a qualified person who works under the supervision of an STMS.
  • – can be left in charge to manage a work site as per the approved traffic management plan that is on site.


The TC when left in control to manage the work site will have the authority to:

  • – postpone, cancel, and modify operations,
  • – alter the traffic management equipment and
  • – start exercising their abilities and experience, while monitoring activities within the TTM work site.
  • – They can also allow people entry to work sites and request people off a work sites for issues of noncompliance or safety.


Many people find that being a traffic controller is a satisfying career option and are often content with remaining a TC as assisting their STMS to the best of their abilities. Others make the decision to advance their TTM careers and will work their way through the ranks.

Not in the TTM industry? That’s ok, it is still a valuable qualification. Many companies working within civil and commercial construction require their staff to hold a minimum traffic control qualification as some of the work may require them to work close to traffic management work sites.

As someone who has worked in the TTM industry for close to 8 years now, I would like to encourage you to take that first step and become a traffic controller. You never know where the road may take you and perhaps I will see you on your journey. Who knows, you may even teach me a thing or two as I am still learning today!