Civil Engineering

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Traffic Engineer

Traffic Engineer

Brian Yip, Auckland Transport

Earning: $60-70,000
In a nutshell:  Keeping Auckland roads operating safely and effectively, with responsibility for a particular geographic area. 
Why? “People may not be aware of it, but I know that my work keeps them safe on the roads. It’s particularly rewarding when I’m working on projects that protect older people and children.”

Pathway Massey High School, Year 13: Physics, Calculus, Biology, Statistics, Biology
University of Auckland: Bachelor of Engineering, majoring in Civil Engineering

Brian Yip is a traffic engineer with responsibility for the Orakei ward in East Auckland. His team  keeps traffic flowing smoothly and makes using the road safer for everybody, whether they drive, use public transport, walk or cycle.

His job requires excellent communication skills as well as in depth technical knowledge because he has to deal with all types of issues ranging from minor public enquiries to major roading works. When people ask for any changes to a road, such as a new pedestrian crossing or to accommodate a new super market, Brian investigates to see if it’s a good idea. He has to balance the needs of different road users and figure out what is best for the community as a whole.

“When a problem arises from during an investigation then that’s when we have to get creative,” he says. “I use what I learnt at university and my experience to find solutions that work for the customer but there are the limitations of what we can do without having negative effects on other road users. That’s a good challenge.”

Brian says that the most rewarding part of his job is resolving people’s issues, and being able to make people happy by saying, “Yes, we will do something that will make your life so much easier.” And he says, “Whenever I drive around and see people using something like a pedestrian crossing that I’ve designed, I feel I’m leaving a legacy.”

Travelling around the city is a big part of his job. “To me that’s a good thing because I am not just sitting behind a desk all day,” he says. “Because I’m the area engineer, I spend about 30% of my time out looking at issues and coming up with appropriate solutions.”

There are lots of options for what he might do next, including becoming a consultant responsible for delivering roading changes or he could become a team leader and move into a management role. “Transport is important everywhere so there will be a role for me anywhere in the world,” he says. “I do have opportunities, but for now, I’m really happy where I am.”

Posted October 2011