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 reaches out to DOTs again as raw materials challenges increase

ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner sent a letter this afternoon to the directors of every state department of transportation (DOT) to update them on the ongoing challenges facing members of the roadway safety infrastructure industry due to a shortfall in material supplies.

The latest resource severely cut was oxygen, which is needed to make glass beads that are used in pavement marking applications.

“Our members’ supply of oxygen has been cut by 70% in some areas and 100% in others because of the significant escalation of hospitalizations due to the spread of COVID-19 variants and the national trend of oxygen producers realigning the supply of oxygen from industrial customers to critical medical needs to combat the national pandemic,” Tetschner said in today’s letter.

Tetschner contacted the DOT directors in April asking for their understanding as the industry addressed “substantial volatility in terms of price fluctuations, product availability and delivery times” for key raw materials. He noted that several factors played into the issue at that point including reduced production resulting from COVID-19 plant shutdowns and extreme weather events in the Midwest/Texas in February.

At that point, he noted the impact on petroleum-based products, which are used for plastic and pavement marking resins.

In March, he notified them of challenges obtaining base resin, which is used in High Friction Surface Treatment applications.

In June, he notified Cheryl Walker, associate administrator of the Office of Safety at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), of the problems and  asked her to share the information with FHWA Division Administrators in each state and encourage them to work with state DOT and industry partners.

In August, ATSSA members learned of the problems obtaining oxygen.

“Once again, I strongly urge you to provide flexibility on liquidated damages provisions within your contracts for all these products due to the lack of availability which resulted from the current unforeseeable, extreme circumstances,” Tetschner said in today’s letter. “In addition to flexibility on contract time, you may also consider price supports on selected projects that have been affected by dramatic volatility in raw materials pricing. This short-term radical increase was unexpected.”

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