Traffic Engineering Design Principles and Practice

Traffic Engineering Design Principles and Practice

Traffic can be defined as the movement of pedestrians and goods along a route, and in the 21st century
the biggest problem and challenge for the traffic engineer is often the imbalance between the
amount of traffic and the capacity of the route, leading to congestion. Traffic congestion is not a
new phenomenon. Roman history records that the streets of Rome were so clogged with traffic,
that at least one emperor was forced to issue a proclamation threatening the death penalty to those
whose chariots and carts blocked the way. More recently pictures of our modern cities taken at the
turn of the century show streets clogged with traffic.

In the introduction to his book Gordon Wells quoted the Institution of Civil Engineers1 for his definition
of traffic engineering, that is:
That part of engineering which deals with traffic planning and design of roads, of
frontage development and of parking facilities and with the control of traffic to
provide safe, convenient and economic movement of vehicles and pedestrians.
This definition remains valid today but there has clearly been a change in the emphasis in the
role of the traffic engineer in the time since this book was first produced. In the 1970s the car was
seen as the future and the focus was very much ‘predict and provide’. Traffic engineers were
tasked with increasing the capacity of the highway system to accommodate what seemed and endless
growth in motor traffic, often at the expense of other road users.


Share this

Related Posts

Next Post »