Roadway Safety Innovation

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.

Exhibit at ATSSA's Annual Traffic Expo


Do you have an innovative roadway safety product? Exhibitors can showcase their innovations in the New Products Rollout at the Annual Convention & Traffic Expo. Products released after Jan. 1 of this year qualify for entry. Twenty will be accepted for the New Product Listing and just 12 will be accepted for presentation to a panel of judges. The top three products will earn an Innovation Award that will be announced during the Convention.


Learn more about featuring your innovative product to key industry professionals. View videos of last year's entries and award winners.





ATSSA flagger training: The importance of being certified
Erica Terrini
/ Categories: ATSSA, Roadway, Transportation

ATSSA flagger training: The importance of being certified

How knowing the standards helps the ‘first line of defense’ protect all roadway workers

ATSSA's flagger training courses have been teaching individuals how to be safe and effective flaggers for nearly 50 years. These courses help trainees understand why proper flagger operations are essential, identify standard flagger control references, and learn standard flagger practices for many situations—both expected and unexpected.
While the association has taken great strides to provide and adequately train individuals across the country, there still are infrequencies when it comes to having consistent standards on a national scale.

“From coast to coast, we see flaggers who need training. The fewer gaps and inexperience you have with flagging, the more lives you will save,” said ATSSA Master Instructor and association member Brad Henry. “We've seen everything from workers not being at their station, to not paying attention to traffic, and even using the wrong equipment. Flaggers are our first line of defense in the work zone for our roadway workers, and a safe work zone starts with being certified and properly trained.”
ATSSA Master Instructor and President of J.M. Morales & Associates Juan Morales said taking the four-hour class to become a certified flagger not only keeps all individuals safe in a work zone, but it prepares them for the unexpected.

“Flagging is so much more than just flipping a paddle. It's about the 'what ifs,'” Morales said. “When I'm instructing, we go over unexpected events that occur in roadway work zones. What if the car doesn't stop? What if there is an ambulance? What if I don't have the right equipment? What if I have an angry driver?”
Morales said that some jurisdictions simply have individuals watch a video to become certified flaggers. There is no active participation or proof that they learned the standards and best practices. ATSSA's flagger certification program involves face-to-face (or instructor-led) training and proving that the proper flagger signals, skills and practices were learned, through both a dexterity demonstration and a written exam.

“After formal training, you become more demanding in the sense that you want to ensure you have the right equipment and everything is properly set up and your fellow roadway workers are following protocol,” Morales said. “The exam is another component that protects from litigation because it proves they know better. A lot of times people will not pay enough attention to the video and not retain any information, but with the exam, we know they are walking away knowing the standards and how to conduct themselves in a work zone.”

ATSSA Director of Training Jessica Scheyder said while there are some issues with flaggers not being adequately trained or certified, the association will continue to provide the highest-quality flagging training and promote the importance of obtaining certification.
“This all comes down to making our roadways safer,” Scheyder said. “We want help to ensure roadway workers are adequately trained and know what to do in a work zone and that starts with becoming certified.”

For more information on ATSSA Training, visit

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