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.


Median and roadside guardrails: An essential and effective countermeasure for RwD crashes

Research and studies show how devices are important components of integrated traffic safety system

In a study conducted by the Sleep Education Research Foundation, it was revealed driving while tired is just as dangerous as driving drunk. Driving drowsy makes the motorist incapable of staying alert and many tired drivers tend to fall asleep while driving, which prohibits them from adequately responding to changes in road conditions—resulting in crashes.

This was the case for Ben Tanberg, who is an electrical engineer who works for an airline company. In July 2016, Tanberg was driving to a golf course in Montana when he started to feel drowsy and nodded off for a short period. Realizing this, Tanberg headed to get coffee but nodded off completely before he could reach the exit. He was traveling at a speed of 75 mph while his sedan swerved to the right and collided with a guardrail terminal.

The guardrail did exactly what it was designed to do: The guardrail’s end terminal absorbed the energy of the impact and deflected the guardrail away from the vehicle. This resulted in the gradual slowing of the vehicle, allowing it to come to a full stop. Tanberg was able to leave the scene of the crash uninjured.

Tanberg’s story is one of many that demonstrates guardrail save lives. For example, since the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) first began installing the devices in 2004, cable median barriers have saved approximately 80 lives. Additionally, the Michigan Department of Transportation estimates that cable guardrails have the potential to save about 13 lives as well as prevent 51 severe injuries every year in the state.

For more information about the safety benefits of median and roadside guardrails, visit Like, comment, and share posts from the Guardrails Save Lives campaign and use the hashtag #GuardrailsSaveLives.

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