Why a Construction Site Traffic Management Plan is Important


Construction sites are busy and potentially dangerous places. Heavy machinery, overhead movement of construction materials, regular delivery vehicles, and pedestrians and vehicles sharing the same space – these are just some of the risks. Without proper traffic management, a construction site can quickly turn into a death trap.

On top of that, construction activity will often disrupt the flow of surrounding traffic. Lane closures, excavations, heavy vehicle and equipment access – all this and more can affect the safe and smooth flow of vehicle and pedestrian traffic around a construction site.

For a construction site to operate safely and smoothly, it must have a feasible traffic management plan in place.

What is a traffic management plan?

According to Safe Work Australia, a traffic management plan documents and explains how traffic risks will be managed in and around the construction site. It focuses on six main areas:

  1. Keeping pedestrians and vehicles apart
  2. Minimising vehicle movement
  3. Eliminating reversing vehicles or minimising risks
  4. Making vehicles and pedestrians visible
  5. Using traffic signs
  6. Training and qualifications


Let’s have a look at each one a little closer.

  1. Keeping pedestrians and vehicles apart

There are a variety of strategies for keeping vehicles and pedestrians apart. These include:

  • Providing separate traffic routes for pedestrians and vehicles, where possible
  • Providing direct and clearly marked pedestrian walkways
  • Creating pedestrian exclusion zones where heavy machinery is operating
  • Creating vehicle exclusion zones around heavy pedestrian traffic areas
  • Installing appropriate barriers and signage separating pedestrian and vehicle areas
  • Having properly trained and qualified supervisors directing vehicle and pedestrian traffic
  • Creating clearly visible and monitored crossing points
  • Avoiding blocking walkways
  1. Minimising vehicle movements

Once onsite, minimising vehicle movements reduces the risk to pedestrians and workers, as well as reducing the amount of onsite traffic that needs to be managed. The first step is to limit the number of vehicles allowed onto the worksite to only essential vehicles and machinery. This can be done by:

  • Situating storage areas so delivery vehicles don’t have to cross the site
  • Creating a parking area away from the work area
  • Monitoring and controlling entry to the worksite
  • Scheduling the work to minimise the number of vehicles on site at any one time
  1. Reversing vehicles

Reversing vehicles can be particularly dangerous. Try to minimise the need to reverse by using one-way road systems and turning circles on the worksite and in storage areas. Where this isn’t possible, you should:

  • Use mirrors, reversing alarms and signals, and reversing sensors and cameras
  • Use reversing signallers to help direct the driver
  • Create clearly marked reversing areas that are free from pedestrian traffic
  1. Vehicle and pedestrian visibility

Ensuring that vehicles and pedestrians can clearly see each other will help to avoid worksite accidents. In areas where pedestrians and vehicles must share space, you should always:

  • Ensure workers wear high-visibility or reflective clothing
  • Appoint a trained and qualified person to direct traffic and control manoeuvres
  • Equip vehicles with visual and aural warning systems like flashing lights and sirens or alarms
  • Use communication methods like radio, line of sight signals, and agreed on verbal commands
  1. Use traffic signs

Traffic routes should be clearly signposted to indicate restricted parking, visitor parking head room, speed limits, vehicle movement, key site areas and other route hazards. Pedestrian routes should also be clearly signposted, as should all crossing areas and site entrances and exits.

  1. Training and qualifications

Everyone onsite should have thorough training in all pedestrian and vehicle safety guidelines. Workers operating vehicles or machinery should have the appropriate licences, qualifications and workplaces tickets. Workers directing traffic or monitoring traffic should also be properly qualified and trained.

Once developed and implemented, your traffic management plan should be monitored and regularly reviewed, especially after any traffic incidents or changes to the construction project or site plan. All workers should immediately be made aware of any changes to the traffic management plan.

With a proper worksite traffic management plan, you can significantly reduce the risks of traffic incidents and workplace accidents, while streamlining operations across the site.