Traffic Engineer – Cameron Torpy

A traffic engineer looks at the number and the severity of road accidents to determine if the accident rate is higher than it should be for a particular section of road. I use mathematical analysis to do that. If the accident rate is higher than expected, then action is needed.

Regression models and statistics are used to analyse the data. To maintain a consistent approach to different road situations, I take into account the same variables for each data set such as traffic volume, the number of accidents, road geometry and lane interchanges.

I liked mathematics at school, but it was only when I studied mathematics at university that I understood the applications. It’s like learning how to read, you have to understand the language before you can start using it. I did a degree in Mathematics and then a degree in Engineering. Initially I used the engineering, but as my career developed, the mathematics has been really valuable.

Mathematics does open up great career paths. I’ve worked in the automotive and aerospace industries, and now focus on road safety. A sound basis in mathematics can be applied to all sorts of fields and take you anywhere around the world.

The Maths: Make your career count series was produced by AMSI and funded by the Australian Government under The Improving Mathematics in Schools (TIMES) project. Visit the Maths: Make your career count website at http://mathscareers.org.au/

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