National contest challenges transportation/engineering students to improve roadway safety

Fredericksburg, Va. (August 1, 2017) – The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) has announced the second annual “Traffic Control Device Challenge,” which offers its winners cash prizes and national media recognition for their progressive ideas.

In partnership with the Transportation Research Board (TRB), ATSSA is asking engineering students to focus on how America’s roadway system can be made safer – through innovation – to accommodate road users of all types. 

During the first year of the contest, students from Pennsylvania State University, New Mexico State University and the University of Arizona also had the opportunity to display their ideas to the roadway safety industry during ATSSA’s Annual Convention and Traffic Expo in Phoenix, Arizona.

“For the second annual competition, we are seeking three new finalists to carry the torch to the next level of innovation and technology,” said Dr. Paul Carlson, senior research engineer at Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

Eligible participants can be high school, community college, college, graduate students, or teams of students who have an interest in transportation infrastructure safety.

“There are numerous transportation issues across the country that would welcome fresh, creative innovate ideas, or products and services to help improve our nation’s roadways for all road users,” said ATSSA’s Communications Director James Baron. “For example, as we see connected and automated vehicles becoming reality more and more each day, our nation’s transportation system must be prepared to meet the demand of those motorists and those vehicles.  Work zone safety is another area that we are constantly seeking improvements in.” 

Submissions to the contest must be an original design or modification of an industry-accepted design or product. A special panel of TRB experts will then judge entries based on the ability of the idea to address a specific roadway problem, how easily it can be understood by all road users, its applicability on a nationwide basis, and its feasibility for implementation.

Up to 12 finalists will be invited to display their ideas at the 2018 TRB annual meeting in Washington, D.C. in early 2018. From those, first, second and third place winners will be selected to present their concepts to the roadway safety industry at ATSSA’s 48th Annual Convention and Traffic Expo in San Antonio, Texas, from January 26-30, 2018.

“We’re looking for new ideas to make our roadways safer and more efficient for all road users,” said Carlson.

Submission deadline for all students is Oct. 1. Interested students who wish to participate can find an application packet at

For questions about the contest not addressed in the participation guide, please contact Dr. Carlson by email at

ATSSA’s core purpose is to advance roadway safety.  ATSSA represents the roadway safety industry, whose members manufacture and install a variety of roadway safety devices, including signs, pavement markings, guardrail, crash cushions and a variety of other roadway safety devices and services. The association also advances roadway safety by leading the nation in work zone safety training and education for roadway workers across the country. ATSSA members accomplish the advancement of roadway safety through the design, manufacture and installation of roadway safety and traffic control devices. Visit to learn more.

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  • The American Traffic Safety Services Association
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  • Fredericksburg, Virginia 22406-1077
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