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.


Task Force 13 holds 2018 Spring Meeting, addresses issues with roadway infrastructure
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Task Force 13 holds 2018 Spring Meeting, addresses issues with roadway infrastructure

The Task Force 13 (TF13) 2018 Spring Meeting was held in April in Lincoln, Nebraska, following the Midwest Pooled Fund Program.

The program allows Departments of Transportation (DOTs), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) divisions, and other entities to pool resources to reach shared goals within the transportation industry.

The joint meeting kicked off with a crash test (the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) Test No. 3-30 into Three Beam Bullnose System) at the Midwest Roadside Safety Facility. The crash test preceded panel discussions on topics related to the roadway safety industry and state DOTs.

“The joint meeting is a prime opportunity to increase communication and support collaborative efforts between various public agencies and private entities within the roadway safety and infrastructure industry,” said ATSSA Senior Technical Advisor Eric Perry. “Additionally, it allows industry professionals to share information and address high priorities to increase safety for roadway users.”

Perry, who participated on two panels, answered questions about state DOT training requirements for MASH products and on the potential standardization of Qualified Products List/Approved Products List (QPL/APL) process from state to state.

Steve Conway of Nucor Steel Marion, Inc. also discussed the cost implications of all the testing that is required by MASH on all devices and all configurations.

Following the joint meeting, TF13 met to discuss current issues regarding roadside safety hardware. The meeting focused on subcommittees that concentrate on specific roadside issues, which include:

  • Publications maintenance
  • Barrier hardware review groups
  • Bridge railing and transition hardware
  • Drainage hardware
  • Sign, luminaire and traffic signal support hardware
  • Work zone hardware
  • Certification of test facilities
  • Rail highway crossing hardware
  • Marketing
  • Computational mechanics
  • Delineation

A summary was provided on website updates as well as the Task Force 13 Hardware Guide updates. A new website ( was formed to hold the TF guide.

Subcommittee 11, Delineation, focused on Florida’s testing of flexible delineators. Florida is developing a new specification that requires delineators to be hit at 70 mph successfully up to 200 times. Additional discussion focused on the transition from the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 350 testing criteria to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) MASH criteria.

The AASHTO MASH, updated in 2016, provides adopted crash-testing procedures for use in assessing roadside safety hardware. Questions remain on how each state is going to implement MASH as the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) role has shifted and AASHTO’s role is only in the development of the criteria, and not implementation.

Finally, the TF13 group is in the process of forming a non-profit entity to do business and interact with other organizations.

To learn more about the history of MASH criteria and implementation, view a video narrated by ATSSA CEO and President Roger Wentz. Stay tuned to the ATSSA Blog for more updates and send all technical questions to ATSSA's Tech Corner in The Flash e-Newsletter.

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