TCD Challenge

Traffic Control Device (TCD) Student Challenge

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Standing Committee on Traffic Control Devices (AHB50) and the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) have joined together to sponsor and conduct the 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.


2021 Theme: Innovative Traffic Control Device Strategies for Speed Management on Limited Access Freeways


Guidelines for Participation

The TCD Student Challenge is open to individual or teams of high school, junior college, student college, or university (graduate or undergraduate) students with an interest in transportation and an understanding of traffic control devices. Students in relevant fields such as transportation-, human factors-, and technology- related curricula are particularly encouraged to participate.


The TCD Student Challenge submittals will help to encourage innovation and creative thought in the transportation community. Contest participants will receive the opportunity to vet their designs in a public forum. Three winning teams will receive recognition at national transportation forums.


Problem Statement

The theme for the 2021 TCD Student Challenge is: Innovative Traffic Control Device Strategies for Speed Management on Limited Access Freeways. In 2017, there were 37,133 traffic fatalities and 26 percent involved at least one driver that was speeding. Speed management includes strategies used to reduce speed-related fatalities and injuries, as well as improve the safety for all road users, including motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. While various speed management strategies exist, the statistics show there is still work to be done in this area. The objective for the 2021 TCD Student Challenge is to devise an innovative traffic control device for speed management on limited access freeways.


Download the full guidelines and application. The 2021 submission deadline is Oct. 1, 2020.


Winners of the 2020 Challenge


Three finalists were selected during the TRB Annual Meeting early January in Washington, D.C. and will travel to ATSSA's 50th Annual Convention & Traffic Expo, held Jan. 24-28 in New Orleans, to present their concepts during a Traffic Talk.


1st Place ($1,500)

Title: "'Connected' Temporary Traffic Control Devices"

Student: Travis Larson

School: Oregon State University


2nd Place ($1,000)

Title: "Active Connected Work Zone Variable Speed Limit Warning System"

Student: Nusayba Megat-Johari

School: Michigan State University


3rd Place ($500)

Title: "Crash Preventive Cell Phone Holder"

Student: Ellie Lee

School: University of Minnesota


Read more in the ATSSA blog article