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 looks toward horizon of an updated MUTCD

ATSSA looks toward horizon of an updated MUTCD

Staff, members heavily involved in recommended changes

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) needs an update, and ATSSA is playing a major role in the process. The current edition of the roadway safety infrastructure industry’s guide to keeping drivers and roadway workers safe was published in 2009.

“This document sets the standard for uniformity throughout the nation,” said ATSSA Director of Innovation and Technical Services Eric Perry. “We’re trying to help promote uniformity across the U.S. and on U.S. roadways so that we can focus on our mission which is to keep everyone safer and work toward zero deaths.”

ATSSA is among the sponsoring organizations who support the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD). As a sponsoring organization since 1992, ATSSA has assisted in establishing uniformity for traffic control devices and practices that are used to keep roadway drivers, workers, and infrastructure safe. Perry is a friend of the NCUTCD Temporary Traffic Controls Committee. Perry, ATSSA Vice President of Member Services Donna Clark, ATSSA CEO and President Roger Wentz, and ATSSA Associate Directors of Member Engagement Courtney Neal and Angel Ramos attend each meeting to cover the majority of the technical committees.

Since 1980, the NCUTCD has presented recommendations to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for the 1988, 1993, Part VI supplement, 2000, 2003, and 2009 manuals. The NCUTCD has developed more than 200 recommended changes to the 2009 MUTCD. The FHWA is preparing to update the MUTCD by the end of 2020 – making it the longest period without updates, according to Perry.

One of the Temporary Traffic Controls Committee’s recommendations is the inclusion of temporary traffic control near roundabouts and how to set up a work zone in or near a roundabout. Other changes may include a focus on advancing highway infrastructure in relation to Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs), according to Perry.

Paul Carlson, chief technology officer at Road Infrastructure, is the NCUTCD Connected Automated Vehicle Task Force Chair and a member of the ATSSA Pavement Marking Committee and ATSSA Operating Committee.

According to Carlson, one of the task force’s recommendations to provide more national uniformity is widening pavement markings from 4 to 6 inches on all interstates, freeways, and expressways; as well as widening edge lines to 6 inches on other roadways with posted speeds greater than 40 mph. The recommendation went out to ballot to NCUTCD sponsoring organizations after the June 2019 meeting as one of many that the task force is making to increase national uniformity to support the deployment of automated vehicles.

“By far, the most common comment from the AV industry is the need for more uniform pavement marking applications,” Carlson said. “So, that’s what we focused on first. There are additional needs that still require more clarity before we can confidently make recommendations.”

Michael Hare, regional sales manager at QWICK KURB, Inc., is a member of the NCUTCD Markings Committee and the ATSSA Pavement Marking Committee.

Hare stressed the need for an updated MUTCD, stating, “ATSSA has taken a leadership position on this issue to make sure that our industry as well as our membership are represented so as we move forward, we’re not left behind.”

The NCUTCD is scheduled to convene at a biannual meeting in January 2020.

“We want to make sure we’re involved in the process so that we can promote uniformity and make sure there is uniformity across the U.S.,” Perry said. “We want to be able to tell our members of any particular changes and how it can affect them.”

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