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.


Maria Robertson

ATSSA member survey shows nearly half continuing normal business duties

An ATSSA survey shows nearly half of its members remained on the job with regular operations after restrictions went into place as a result of COVID-19.

Members had the opportunity to respond to the survey between March 18 and 25 and were provided the following options as to how their business or agency was handling operations under the COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the federal and state governments:

  • Continuing duties as normal
  • Continuing with outdoor work such as road project
  • Placing all staff on telework
  • Allowing those who could to telework, with others unable to work
  • Re-directing operations
  • Increasing operations
  • Ceasing operations.

The largest number of respondents, roughly 44 percent, said they were continuing with duties as normal. Another 16 percent were continuing with outdoor work. Only three respondents were either re-directing, increasing or ceasing operations. A chart showing the survey results is posted on ATSSA’s COVID-19 Updates page.

Plans could have changed since responses were provided, given the daily changes in developments regarding the pandemic.

Roughly 4 percent of the membership responded to the survey. They represented companies and agencies across the country with anywhere from 3 to 2,700 employees.

Only one mentioned having an employee quarantined out of concern for exposure to the virus.

The respondent with the largest staff represented a Department of Transportation in the Midwest. There they were continuing with operations but restricting face-to-face meetings and encouraging telework whenever possible.

A company in New York state was dealing with conflicting information as to whether its services were considered essential. The administrator felt they should fall into that category and had appealed to the state.

ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner this week reached out to the governors and lieutenant governors asking that members be considered “essential critical infrastructure workers” in alignment with guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS guidelines note that states have the final say in deciding how to implement them.

Among companies that were employing a mix of approaches, social distancing and extra cleaning were part of the process.

One company had begun curbside delivery of items to customers who expressed concern about entering the business.

One large employer indicated that he heard the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and other DOTs were considering increasing operations while traffic volumes were lower than normal.

They saw this as a good opportunity to work with limited exposure to vehicles and thus minimize the risk in work zones.

“Some have said that as safety is our #1 goal for road construction that there is not a better time than now to get some work accomplished,” he wrote.

A Michigan company was employing a mix of options to keep its team working.

People who use computers throughout the workday are teleworking while people who go to construction sites are continuing to operate in the field. Lab employees are working rotating shifts to minimize the number of people in the building and to keep people separated.

One member’s company had seen an increase across multiple facets of his business. It provides a variety of products to its clients.

And one company had gotten a jump on the situation because of its connection to China where the virus originated.

“We saw the signs in early February and implemented our mitigation plan at our China operation then. Now we are fully staffed there and elsewhere around the world,” he wrote.

When travel isn’t an option, the company sets up video conferences and provides extensive documentation for its work.


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