Traffic control at work sites Technical Manual

Transport for NSW published Issue 6.1 of the Traffic control at work sites (TCAWS) Technical Manual in February 2022.

Issue 6.1 of TCAWS provides the requirements for temporary traffic management at Transport construction and maintenance work sites in line with recent industry and national practice updates. The manual applies to works that are delivered directly by Transport or on behalf of Transport by our delivery partners (eg contractors and subcontractors). TCAWS Issue 6.1 aims to improve the safety of road workers and road users as they interact with these roadwork sites in NSW.

Download issue 6.1

Checklists, templates and other example documents

Example checklists, templates, and other documents are provided below to assist Transport project teams, delivery partners (contractors), and their subcontractors with the development of their own documents for planning and implementing best practice temporary traffic management.

Checklists, templates, and other example documents

Technical directions

The following technical directions have amended the content of TCAWS 6.1 and must be referenced with the manual.

TD 00031:2022 - Amendment 1 to Traffic control at work sites 6.1
TD 00003:2022 - Amendment 2 to Traffic control at work sites 6.1


Fact sheets are provided below to answer any questions you may have on what has changed in the Issue 6.1 release of the manual and the technical directions that have since amended specific content of the Issue 6.1 manual.

TCAWS 6.1 fact sheet

To assist with the transition to the Issue 6.1 TCAWS from the previous release of 6.0, a fact sheet (PDF, 138.84 KB) has been provided detailing the key changes in the different sections of TCAWS.

Technical direction factsheets

Factsheet for Amendment 1 & 2 to TCAWS 6.1 (PDF, 143.44 KB)
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Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) are provided below to answer any questions you may have on what has changed from the Issue 6.0 TCAWS to the latest release, Issue 6.1.


What acronym should I use for this document?
Good question! After exploring all the variations over the years from TCWs, TC@WS, TCaWS and TCAWS... just to name a few, we have settled on TCAWS.

Why? Well it's pretty simple, it still sounds like 'TEE-CAWS' when you say it and it is easy to type without changing between upper and lower case. So from here on in we will refer to the Traffic Control at Worksites Technical Manual simply as "TCAWS".

Why the update so soon after Version 6.0 was published?
The publication of this Issue 6.1 update is part of Transport’s ongoing focus on delivering best practice temporary traffic management. The key changes in Issue 6.1 of the TCAWS are:

  • editorial, diagrammatic and technical amendments in response to feedback on TCAWS Issue 6.0
  • new content on the use of portable variable speed limit signs (VSLS) at road work sites
  • new content on roadside design that replaces the existing content on clear zones and aligns with the recent changes in the Austroads Guide to Road Design, Part 3: Geometric Design
  • additional dimensioned multi message sign (MMS) designs added to the Traffic Sign Register to support the MMS technical guidance in TCAWS
  • new content that provides standard image designs for displaying commonly used static TTM signs on variable message signs (VMS)

Have supplements been produced for the new national documents?
Yes. To complement the new material contained in TCAWS Issue 6.0, Transport has also developed and published supplements which describe where and how Transport practice varies from those national documents. View or download the supplement to AGTTM. View or download the supplement to AS 1742.3:2019.

Who has to use TCAWS?
Contrary to popular belief, TCAWS is not a state-wide document applicable to all roads. TCAWS is the primary technical reference document for Transport for NSW only.

This means, that if if the works are being delivered directly by Transport or on behalf of Transport by our delivery partners (eg contractors and subcontractors), you must follow the requirements of TCAWS. However, if you are doing work for another roads authority or other organisation, you must follow the TTM requirements of that particular roads authority.

Other roads authorities in NSW are generally local councils. In instances where councils are not performing work on behalf of Transport, they must determine the most appropriate TTM that will best manage their risk. This may be by applying TCAWS, the Austroads Guide to TTM, following AS 1742.3, developing their own procedures - or a combination or all.

It's important to note however, that regardless of which TTM requirements are applied by a local council, the work health and safety requirements in the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 still apply.

When does TCAWS apply?
In line with the above, the requirements of TCAWS apply when Transport construction or maintenance work is being performed that has the potential to impact traffic.

TCAWS does not apply to 'standard work activities' associated with the operation of the road network, or other TTM for non-construction or non-maintenance activities on a road. Such 'standard work activities' include but are not limited to:

  • Incident and emergency response
  • Compliance enforcement activities
  • School crossing operation
  • General network inspections

These activities need to have their own divisional processes and/or procedures to manage the risks associated with undertaking these tasks. TCAWS may be one of several sources of information that may be used as a reference in the development of these processes or procedures.

Document structure and formatting

Why was the whole document restructured in Issue 6.0?
The document was restructured:

  • to align the content into a more logical order of process - that is, TTM planning occurs first followed by implementation
  • to align to the structure of national documentation such as the Austroads Guide to Temporary Traffic Management

Why are the speed limits in 5km/h increments?
In Version 5.0 of TCAWS, there were instances where requirements applied, for example, to 'speeds up to 80km/h' or 'speeds above 80km/h. Thus, in order to provide greater certainty, the 5km/h increment was introduced to clarify application of a requirement to say, 80 km/h (in this example).

To align with the approach taken in the Austroads Guide to Temporary Traffic Management (AGTTM), TCAWS now refers to all speed zones in increments of 5km/h.

Departure process

What do I do if a requirement of TCAWS doesn't quite fit?
It's important to understand that TCAWS includes the following types of statements:

  • 'must' statements are mandatory and are required to be followed;
  • 'should' statements are recommendations however they are not mandatory; and
  • 'may' statements are permissions or options often accompanied by conditions.

If you can't meet a 'must' statement, or you think there is another way of achieving a safer outcome, then you will need to follow the Departures process which is contained in Section 2.8 of TCAWS. As part of applying for a departure, you will need to justify why the requirement cannot be met, and provide the detail of what will be done instead.

What does the Departures process include?
The TCAWS Departures process only applies to requirements contained in or prescribed by TCAWS. The TCAWS Departures process cannot be used to seek exemption from:

  • legislative requirements such as in the Road Transport Act, Roads Regulation or WHS Act and Regulation
  • Road occupancy licence requirements
  • Road design requirements
  • other road authority requirements

If you are uncertain if the TCAWS Departures process can be used for a certain requirements, contact the Temporary Works Interface team within Transport via


Where can I find information about traffic control training?
As of 1 July 2020, the Traffic Control Training (TCT) scheme was transitioned to SafeWork NSW under the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017. The transition of the TCT scheme from Transport to the WHS Regulation now means that SafeWork NSW are the agency responsible for the governance of the scheme. Information about Traffic Control Training can be found at the SafeWork NSW website.

Do I need to upgrade my training?
With the transition of the TCT, SafeWork have upgraded the units of competency associated with the scheme. Although not mandatory, when transitioning to the SafeWork qualification, Transport highly recommends that all Transport employees undertake full training in the new units of competency to ensure skills and knowledge of those undertaking TTM remain current.

Traffic management planning process

What is a traffic management strategy?
A traffic management strategy is an information and data gathering document to inform the development of a Traffic Management Plan (TMP). The preparation of a traffic management strategy ensures the information needed to consider 'around' or 'past' options, is collected and provided to the person responsible for developing the TMP. This information provides the risk context of the work and environment to enable the person developing the TMP to make the best risk-based decisions relating to the TTM controls required.

What is a traffic management plan?
A traffic management plan (TMP) is a tool that allows persons undertaking TTM to carefully consider the work type and road environment to determine the risks and controls needed to safely perform the work.

TCAWS requires that a TMP be developed for all TTM. However, TCAWS also permits a TMP to be developed based on either the:

  • Work activity or
  • Work location (such as a road corridor)

A TMP that is based on work activity may be developed for a single activity that will be undertaken over a day or two, right through to a major project that will be created over several years. A work activity based TMP focuses on the various work activities that need to be undertaken at the location to complete the work. This is beneficial for scheduled static type work activities, usually undertaken as a project.

Alternatively, a TMP that is based on a work location may be developed where a specific section of the road network is managed by one work crew, with works undertaken at that location on a regular basis. This is beneficial for short term work, usually undertaken by maintenance crews.

A TMP may range in length from two pages for less complex work, through to an extensive multi-page plan for a major project.

What qualifications are required for those developing a traffic management strategy and traffic management plan?
A traffic management strategy must be developed by a person or team within Transport who has involvement in the planning or development of the works or project. The person completing the traffic management strategy does not have to have any TTM qualifications, but should have access to consult with a PWZTMP qualified person and should have a good knowledge of the project works required. In addition the person preparing the traffic management strategy should have the ability to consult with persons from road design, planning and other related stakeholders.

A TMP must be developed by a person with a Prepare Work Zone Traffic Management Plan (PWZTMP) qualification who is involved in the direct management or supervision of the works to be performed.

It is acknowledged that there may be a significant amount of time between the development of a traffic management strategy and a TMP. In all instances, the person developing a TMP should verify the content of the traffic management strategy prior to using the information to develop the TMP.

Are a traffic management strategy and traffic management plan mandatory?
Yes. A traffic management strategy and a TMP are both mandatory documents when any TTM work associated with construction or maintenance of a road is undertaken on behalf of Transport.

What if I don't get a copy of the traffic management strategy?
If you have been asked to develop a TMP but have not received a copy of the traffic management strategy you should first contact the Transport representative requesting the works to seek a copy of the strategy.

If a strategy for the works cannot be obtained, a record of your attempt to seek the information should be kept as part of the traffic management plan when it is developed.

Do I have to use the templates provided in TCAWS for the Traffic Management Strategy or Traffic Management Plan?
No. Although the process detailed in TCAWS is mandatory, the tools and templates provided in Appendix A for a traffic management strategy and TMP have been provided as one way to develop these documents. A project or division however may opt to develop a traffic management strategy or TMP using another template, provided the requirements of TCAWS are met.

Traffic control signs and devices

When can I use a multi-message sign?
Due to the size of signs used within a multi-message sign (MMS), Transport only permit MMS to be used on roads where the existing permanent speed limit is 60 km/h or less. This is due to the amount of information contained on the sign and the ability for road users to read, comprehend and react to the information. For this reason, MMS must also not be used on multi-lane roads.

Why can I only use certain regulatory signs in a three panel multi-message sign?
In NSW, regulatory signs such as "Road Work Speed Limit" signs and "No Right/Left Turn" signs are of different dimensions to the designs shown in the Australian Standards. The NSW designs are longer due to the text displayed under the graphic / annulus.

A specific requirement of AS 1742.3:2019 is that the pictorial or text of a sign must not be reduced in size to fit into an MMS frame. As a result, certain NSW regulatory signs will only fit into a two panel MMS frame.

How do I get approval to use a STOP/SLOW bat?
Where the existing posted speed limit is above 45 km/h and work requires traffic to be stopped, an approved portable traffic control device (PTCD) must be used.

TCAWS permits the use of a STOP/SLOW bat in instances of emergency response, or where the use of a PTCD is demonstrated to not achieve the safest outcome. This may be when the time and risk associated with setting up a PTCD is disproportionate to the risk of using a STOP/SLOW bat. When determining whether the use of a STOP/SLOW bat is appropriate the Prepare Work Zone Traffic Management Plan qualified person must:

  • Risk assess and document the decision and
  • Have the decision approved by the one up manager of the person preparing the TMP

Can I use a TTM device or sign that is not in TCAWS?
No. Under the Road Transport Act 2013 a person must not install or display a prescribed traffic control device - which includes signs, devices and line marking - on, above or near a road without appropriate lawful authority.

Any signs or devices detailed in TCAWS provide the authorisation and conditions for their use however if something is not listed in TCAWS or in another Transport document, it must not be used without the appropriate written authorisation as per the Road Transport Act 2013.

Details on how written authorisation can be obtained for conditional use of a device that is not in TCAWS can be found in Section 2.8 of the document.

Traffic guidance schemes

Why has Traffic Control Plan (TCP) changed to Traffic Guidance Scheme (TGS)?
To harmonise with national practice documents, Transport have replaced the term Traffic Control Plans (TCP) with traffic guidance scheme (TGS). Although the terminology has changed, the intent of the documents remains the same.

Where have all the example TGS (TCP) gone?
To ensure that only a Site Suitable or a Site Specific TGS is used on a work site, the detailed TCPs provided in TCAWS Version 5.0 and earlier publications have been replaced with example work site layouts. These layouts are intended to provide a general visual description of how the requirements of TCAWS could be applied in some example scenarios.

The work type layout examples in Issue 6.1 of TCAWS, like Version 5.0, were not prepared to be used directly as a TGS. All TGS for use on site must be approved as a Site Suitable or Site Specific TGS and must have been selected or developed in accordance with Section 7 of TCAWS Issue 6.1.

What can an Implement Traffic Control Plan qualified person do?
The Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 requires a person conducting a business or undertaking to ensure that a person is qualified for the type of traffic control work they are performing.

In consultation with SafeWork NSW and the developers of the relevant units of competency for the ITCP qualification, Transport has been advised that an ITCP person is permitted to:

  • Select a TGS from a Generic TGS library;
  • Implement the TGS on site; and
  • Modify a TGS within the tolerances detailed in AS 1742.3:2019.

To ensure workers and Transport are not in breach of the WHS Regulation, an ITCP qualified person is no longer permitted to change a TGS outside of the tolerances of AS 1742.3:2019.

What if a PWZTMP person is not available on site and changes need to occur?
Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Transport must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of workers and those who are impacted by the works. As a result, if a risk is identified on site and a PWZTMP person is not available to make changes to the TGS beyond the specified tolerances, the site must be made safe by being closed until a PWZTMP person has updated the TGS in accordance with TCAWS.

Temporary traffic management page

Go to the Temporary traffic management page for information on:

  • the role and key tasks of Transport’s Temporary traffic management team
  • past editions of the ‘In the Zone’ Temporary traffic management newsletter
  • subscription form to join our email list for the ‘In the Zone’ newsletter

Contact us

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