Innovation

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

NPRO

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.



Resources

ATSSA urges DOTs to support a standardized form for QPL and APL

ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner reached out to the leaders of departments of transportation (DOTs) in all 50 states asking for their support for a standardized form for the Qualified Products List (QPL) and the Approved Products List (APL).

In a letter, Tetschner explains that a standardized form would help roadway safety products get to market faster by streamlining the current burdensome process of making a different application for every DOT across the country.

"If you are not aware, each DOT manages its QPL/APL submittals, reviews and approvals differently and this means each company wishing to see a product added to the list must go through the process 50 times, frequently in different ways with different forms, resulting in a very time-consuming, labor-intensive process,” Tetschner states in the letter. “This burdensome process delays getting new and improved products onto the roadways where they could save lives.”

The letter is signed by the president of each of ATSSA’s Chapters, which represent 1,500 member companies from across the country.

ATSSA members have been working to achieve this standardization since 2017 and took a thorough approach to creating the standardized form they propose.

They first created an internal task force that made two attempts to work through the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. When both of those efforts were dismissed, ATSSA members took a new approach, seeking to craft the standardized form themselves.

The proposed form resulted from obtaining submittal forms from each state and then extracting the content they had in common.

Members also assessed a list of items unique to various states before choosing to exclude them from the standardized form.

The resulting form reflects the fact that it was produced by a group within ATSSA’s Guardrail Committee. ATSSA acknowledges forms would need to be created for different product types, materials, equipment or processes but the proposed form could serve as the template for all other forms.

Tetschner notes that ATSSA has received support for its effort from key officials within the transportation industry.

“Both the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Safety are aware of this form, supportive of it and encouraged us to continue our efforts,” Tetschner says in the letter.

He closes by asking the state DOT leaders for their support with an eye toward improving roadway safety.

“AASHTO encourages standardization and we encourage each of you to support this effort, begin using this form and help us achieve a national effort that benefits your department, departments across the country, the manufacturing community and everyone who travels the nation’s roads,” he writes.

“Every step we take to speed the implementation of roadway safety products and technology translates into safer roads and saved lives.”

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