Innovation in the Roadway Safety Industry

Outsiders of the transportation infrastructure industry may look to autonomous vehicles as an icon of innovation on the roadways, but for state Department of Transportation (DOT) officials, manufacturers, suppliers, and contractors in the roadway safety and infrastructure industry, innovation is not a stationary achievement. It is much more than a mile marker and not as easily defined.

With different perspectives and priorities, industry stakeholders are finding that in addition to new technologies, innovation is heavily reliant on communication between entities. Industry leaders are working together to move forward and ATSSA is no different. The association works year-round to progress and develop creative solutions for all of its initiatives including highlighting innovative products and technologies, training, and ATSSA membership.

One innovative effort ATSSA is involved in is a joint initiative with the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Standing Committee on Traffic Control Devices (AHB50). Both ATSSA and TRB sponsor and conduct an exciting design competition, the Traffic Control Device (TCD) Student Challenge, to promote innovation and stimulate ideas in the traffic control devices area with a goal to improve operations and safety.

Find recent updates on the latest innovations in the resource list below and be sure to check back for updates. 


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ATSSA & TRB announce 2020 Traffic Control Device Student Challenge

Challenges offers opportunity for students to innovate for the future of roadway safety

The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) and Transportation Research Board Standing Committee on Traffic Control Devices (AHB50) have launched the 2020 Traffic Control Device (TCD) Student Challenge.

The TCD Student Challenge promotes innovation and stimulates ideas in the traffic control devices industry from future generations of roadway safety professionals. As part of the challenges, individuals or student teams submit solutions in the subject area of transportation and roadway safety, based on the chosen topic for the year.

This year’s topic is “Innovations for improving Work Zone Safety for Connected and Automated Vehicles.”

The TCD Student Challenge is open to high school, junior college, college, or university students or teams of students. All that is required in terms of technical expertise is an interest in transportation and safety, along with an understanding of traffic control devices.

“The TCD Student Challenge is a great way for students to learn more about transportation and use their creativity to come up with innovative solutions for roadway safety challenges that have the potential to save lives. Last year we had our first high school student team participate – they placed third – and we’re hoping to have additional high school teams submit innovations this year as well,” said ATSSA’s Director of New Programs Brian Watson.

The submittals encourage innovation and creative thought in the transportation community. Three winning teams will win a cash prize and have the opportunity to present their submissions at ATSSA’s 50th Annual Convention & Traffic Expo in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The deadline to submit an application is Oct. 1, 2019. To learn more about the challenge, visit

To learn more about the 2019 winners, visit

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