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I'm referring to people in bright orange or green vests who direct automobiles. I thought of road workers, but it's not specifically around road work. Is there a word for "traffic-directors"?

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One major distinction is based on whether they are police or construction workers. Your picture looks like a traffic cop in the U.S. –  Peter Rowell Dec 31 '11 at 1:58
    
And in the US a "road worker" may be using a pick or a jackhammer, or may be picking up litter, or something. Not directing traffic. –  GEdgar Dec 31 '11 at 2:08
    
In Australia at least when a police officer is doing this, the task is termed point duty. But I'm not sure what the person doing it would be called. –  hippietrail Dec 3 '13 at 17:18

4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Such a person may be called a traffic director, traffic controller or traffic conductor.

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I don't understand the upvotes. Not one of these terms is commonly (or uncommonly) used to describe the person in the OP's photograph. (Plus, traffic director is not another word for traffic-directors.) –  Gnawme Dec 31 '11 at 19:20

They're called traffic cops in the US. (Or, more formally, traffic police.)

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Take care. "Cop" is very informal. If you don't intend to be informal, say "traffic policeman" –  slim Dec 31 '11 at 5:16
    
@slim The word cop is certainly in the vernacular here in the US. (Only AHED flags it as informal.) In writing, I would use traffic officer or traffic police or the like if the context required it. Then again, that's not what the OP was asking. –  Gnawme Dec 31 '11 at 6:43

It looks like the (US) industry term is flagger, that is, if it's not specifically a traffic cop.

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I would say a flagger would have a flag to stop or slow traffic while something else happens on the road. He does not direct traffic in general. –  GEdgar Dec 31 '11 at 18:38

If they're police officers, than as Gnawme says the common term is "traffic cop".

Construction workers who are working on a road or something near a road so that they are interfering with traffic will normally have one of their members direct traffic. This person used to be called a "flagman". In these politically-correct days, he or she is now called a "flagger". (While I don't have statistics on this, from my anecdotal observation, these days if the construction crew is more than 2 or 3 people the flagger is almost always a woman.)

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