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 an exciting new 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.


2020 Theme: Connected and Autonomous Innovations for Improving Work Zone Safety


Guidelines for Participation

The TCD Challenge is open to individual high school, junior college, college, or university students or teams of 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 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 2020 TCD Challenge is: Connected and Autonomous Innovations for Improving Work Zone Safety. In 2016, there were approximately 158,000 crashes in work zones in the United States; resulting in about 61,000 injuries and 780 fatalities. These alarming statistics include both motorists traveling through work zones and highway workers who maintain and rebuild roadways. While improving work zone safety has been a focus area for many years, connected and autonomous innovations provide new opportunities to alert motorists, warn workers, mitigate crashes, and get everyone home safely. Connected and autonomous innovations may also change the way we design and set up work zone traffic control, navigate through the work zone, and conduct the job within the work zone. The objective for the 2020 TCD Challenge is to devise an innovative connected and/or autonomous traffic control solution to help improve work zone safety. Both vehicle and non-vehicle based systems may be considered.


The application submission deadline for the 2020 Challenge has passed as of October 1, 2019


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