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Traffic and transport engineering employment in Britain





Engineers and technicians get a free copy of "Cracking the UK Job Market" when you register with agencies or apply to jobs





Introduction — What you need to know and why

The employment demand for engineers with transport and traffic engeering experience from overseas with a work visa, British or EU passport is strong and increasing.

However in recent years the industry has evolved. British consultancies have become more global and many smaller specialist consultancies have emerged as strong competitors.

The trick now is to uncover the opportunities that best match your experience. The best way to do this is registering with a recruitment agency and have a good idea of what you want to do based on what is available.

That is what this page is all about!

The information below will tell you everything you need to know:

  • where you will be able to find work
  • what sorts of projects you will work on
  • how much money you can earn
  • technical specifications that you should be aware of

Where are jobs located?

Engineering employment opportunities are available UK-wide. Generally speaking, the bigger the city the bigger the demand but the state of the industry is such that jobs can also be found in many smaller regional towns.

Traffic and transport jobs may be found in such locations as:

  • Central London
  • Greater London (just outside the M25)
  • Edinburgh
  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Portsmouth
  • Southampton
  • Exeter

Tip: If you have a preference for a particular part of the UK, it a good idea to research that area first to ensure positions are available.

Outlook for traffic and transport employment

Traffic and transport is a huge industry in the UK. Since 1836 when London's first railway put countryside towns within easy reach of the city, civil engineering and increasingly now transport engineering has been a critical factor to London's economic strength. The continual addition of new infrastructure and the evolution of the dynamic elements of traffic management will ensure traffic and transport engineering maintains an important role long into the future. Due to the shear size of system it also means that projects are as diverse as they are challenging.

So if you're looking for a job with a bias to traffic and transport, rest assured that you are in high demand!

As a bonus you will also gain extremely valuable skills for the future.


The scope of the UK's roads and highways as well as public transport is impressive in size and diversity and this is reflected in the number of civil – traffic and transportation engineering jobs available.

The UK's need to both maintain old and develop new infrastructure is fuelled by a strong and globally-influential economy; the increasing demands of an expanding population.

Projects in the UK include:

  • Highway tunnel schemes
  • Motorway extension and widening
  • Real time passenger information systems
  • Highway lighting and traffic signal schemes
  • Road user pricing projects
  • Lane rental projects

Most large traffic and transport projects (such as highway design and construction) exist in the private sector. The Highways Agency is an executive agency which oversees all UK highways and is responsible for contracting private construction and engineering firms.

The private sector also generates many projects in association with developer led work, such as subdivision for housing. This type of work is expected to recover post financial crisis.

Public sector work limited to smaller council projects, though there are quite a high number of these and many councils are comparatively large.


As with all types of engineering jobs in the UK, if you are moving from overseas it is preferable to have at least 2 or more years experience.

Graduates may be able to find suitable employment, however an employer who is investing in your training may require a time commitment which, depending on your visa situation, might be more than you can guarantee.

Traffic and transport engineers with 3 - 6+ years experience will find a greater range of opportunities available to them in both contract and permanent positions.


Recruitment agencies play a critical role in the UK. A recruitment agency’s business is built on its ability to provide quality candidates for employers while simultaneously facilitating the candidate’s timely employment.

WORKgateways manages a network of engineering recruitment agencies which are very good at helping people from overseas.

To find your perfect job:

  • You can register with recruitment agencies up to 2 years before you plan to travel to the UK. In order to find the best job, recruitment agencies will contact you for further confirmation before submitting your CV to potential employers.
  • Begin applying for jobs about three months before you arrive. If you register with an agency, a recruitment consultant will begin the process of arranging interviews as your arrival date draws closer.
  • Aim to be in contact with 2-3 recruitment agencies who you feel comfortable with. Since traffic and transport is very specialist you will find recruitment consultants who deal mainly in this area.
  • If your travel plans or arrival date changes, make sure you inform your recruitment consultant - this will help them to help you.

Would you prefer the freedom of temporary engineering employment with a CAD contract job or perhaps you are looking to develop you career engineering? Whatever you’re looking for, specialised engineering recruitment agencies can be very helpful.

What types of jobs are available for traffic and transport engineers?

Traffic and transport engineering position titles in the UK include:

  • Traffic engineer
  • Highway engineer
  • Pavement engineer
  • Transport modeller/planner
  • Project manger
  • Site manager
  • Lane rental engineer
  • ITS consultant
  • CAD technician (usually Auto CAD programme jobs)
  • Infrastructure engineer

All of these positions exist within both the public and private sector and may be performed under either a contract or permanent basis.

What are the earnings for traffic and transport engineers?

Traffic and transport posts are well payed in the UK. As is always the case, your earning power will correspond to your experience.

This hierarchy can be used as a general guide for all specialties which fall within the category of traffic and transport engineering:

Grade Experience (yrs) Salary Range £/hr (Contract) Salary range p/a (Permanent*)
Graduate - NA £20-22K + benefits
Consultant 1-6+ £17-24 £20-35K + benefits
Senior 6-10+ £24-28 £25-40K + benefits
Principal 10-15+ £26-35 £40 - 45K + benefits
Associate 10-15+ NA £45 - 55K + benefits
Associate director 15-20+ NA £50 - 55K + benefits
Director 15-20+ NA £50 - 70K + benefits

New arrivals to the UK should not expect to earn premium contract rates immediately. Employers are aware that you will need to adjust to the specifics of working in the UK and may need some extra training. Often, you can re-negotiate your contract rates after your first 2 or 3 months in the UK.

Working as a traffic or transport engineer

Standards — the Eurocodes

The Eurocodes standards provide the common everyday design principles and rules for the design of structures and component products.

Until 2010 the Eurocodes were (slowly) introduced throughout the UK. As different sections of the code were consecutively rolled out there was a co-existence period for each section. (For example — BS 594 : Part 1: Specification for constituent materials and asphalt mixes has been superseded by,BS EN 13108-4 : 2006 : Bituminous mixtures - Material specifications - Part 4 : Hot Rolled Asphalt) in 2010 the Eurocodes completely replaced the existing national standards.

The introduction of the Eurocodes represented a significant challenge to the British traffic and transport engineering industry but it also represents an exciting opportunity for overseas workers to gain valuable experience in one of the most used standards in the world.

Software and applications

Apart from the more senior roles working as an engineer will require you to have experience in the use of industry specific software.

Common software software used in Britain includes:

  • AutoCAD
  • 12D (Highways, Traffic or Drainage)
  • MapINFO
  • AutoTrack
  • AutoSIGN
  • CorelDRAW
  • Micro Drainage Windes

Transport Model Applications used in the UK include:

  • CUBE
  • EMME/2

Training for new software packages is usually offered for those taking on a new position (particularly in permanent roles).

Your qualifications

An appropriate engineering degree or diploma from an approved tertiary institution will usually be recognised in the UK. Make sure you remember to bring a copy of your degree certificate with you.

While there are UK-specific qualifications which you may later wish to attain, you do not require them in order to commence working.

Important information for your CV

Be sure your CV includes a list of the jobs you have worked on throughout your career in transportation engineering, including specific details on the scope of the projects and your responsibilities within them.

Information such as project value, type of project and a basic description of the work required will ensure that the full depth of your experience is communicated to specialised engineering agencies and future employers.

Be sure to list your experience in reverse-chronological order (i.e. most recent experience first please!)

Use dot points where possible as these enable the reader to quickly scan and understand your experience and abilities.


Mar 2006 — Present Main Roads, Country
Engineer (Traffic Operations)
  • Project management of traffic performance and safety projects
  • Analysis and coordination of traffic signal routes, including use of software package and space-time diagram tool.
  • Project management of the Road Maintenance Performance Contract. (Value $55M/ annum)
  • Approval of Traffic Management Plans
Software: TRANSYT (Advanced), TRIPS (Intermediate)
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