Traffic Control Technicians

Meet the Traffic Control Technicians

Traffic Signal Crew
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Traffic Signal Crew

Did you know that Manatee County has more than 200 traffic signals, 2,500 street lights, over 100 school flashers and more than 50,000 road signs?  Wow, that is a lot of traffic stuff to take care of!  The "Traffic Guys" work in the Traffic Operations Division of Manatee County Government.  They are responsible for taking care of all the street lights, traffic lights and road signs.  They even paint the lines on the roads!  These are the guys who help drivers know where they are allowed to drive their cars, where they need to stop, that they need to slow down in the area where you go to school, and many, many other things!

 

 

Keeping Us Safe

Image Keeping Us Safe
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school zone

Although we sometimes call them "Traffic Guys" they are actually called Traffic Control Technicians.  They are very important in keeping our roads safe for you, your family and friends.  Each day you may see as many as 20 Traffic Control Technicians out on the roads doing all sorts of jobs from painting the lines on the road to replacing old worn out stop signs, and even changing the bulbs inside the traffic signal.  They make the caution flasher by your school turn on and off when it is supposed to.  They even make sure that traffic signals turn red, green or yellow at the right times to keep traffic from jamming up on the roads.

They fix that too

Image They fix that too
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stop sign

Did you know the Traffic Technicians get called out to take care of traffic problems at any time?  They have to work on the problem no matter whether it is a holiday or in the middle of the night when you are sleeping.  Any time something goes wrong with a traffic light or sign, the local Sheriff Deputies will call the Traffic Technicians to come out and fix it so the road is kept safe.  This way the chance of someone having an accident is not as high because the sign is where it needs to be and is working.  Because the job they do is very important to the safety of the people who live in or visit our county, the Traffic Control Technicians have to go to school and get special training so they know exactly what they must do to keep traffic moving and people safer.

Is it safe to cross yet?

Image Is it safe to cross yet?
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walk signal

Have you ever noticed the signs on the side of the road that tell you when it is safe to cross the road?  They flash in the shape of a little man when it is safe to cross or a little hand when it is not safe.  There is a button you need to look for on the pole near the street you want to cross.  When you press the button it will then send a message to the signal that you want to cross the street.  Don't cross until the signal shows the little man walking.  Then it is safe to go.

Did you know?

Image Did you know?
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trivia question mark
  • each traffic signal is connected with the next signal down the road using fiber optic communication cable?  This cable goes all the way back to a central office that allows us to monitor the traffic timing and ensure the signal is working properly.
  • the cameras attached to the traffic signal watch for cars to approach so it can change the light from red to green to let the cars through?  These are called video detection cameras.
  • most traffic signals still use a special coiled wire imbedded inside the pavement to detect cars at the traffic signal?  This is called an inductive loop detector.  The coiled wire works as a magnet and when the metal on a car passes over the wire the field in the coil changes which triggers a signal inside the controller to let it know a car is waiting for the light or has passed over so it can hold the signal a little longer.
  • a red, yellow, green traffic signal is 3 feet tall?  Each section of a traffic signal is 12 inches.
  • pavement striping on the road has tiny glass beads imbedded inside the paint to make it reflective at night?  The glass beads are sprayed onto the paint during the painting process.
  • that some paint used for marking lines on the road is actually melted plastic?  This is called Thermo Plastic paint.
  • that many of the signs we use here are the same as those used in different countries all over the world?  These are called Universal signs and helps foreign visitors to better understand how to get around in a country where they may not know the language.
  • that all signs we install and use are the same across the entire United States?  Every government agency in the U.S., including us, refers to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Devised (MUTCD) to ensure the signs we install conform to the Federal Highway Administration Standards.