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.


SuperUser Account

Task Force 13 works to promote roadway safety

ATSSA participated in the Task Force 13 (TF13) 2018 Fall Meeting, where one key initiative—to form a nonprofit entity to conduct business and interact with other roadway safety organizations—was addressed.

Task Force 13 is a group that develops, advises on, and promotes standards and specifications for bridge and roadway safety infrastructure on our nation’s roadways.

TF13 was previously a joint AASHTO-AGC-ARTBA Subcommittee on New Highway Materials and Technologies. This subcommittee was charged with developing guide specifications for new materials and technologies identified for use in highway construction projects. Today, the AASHTO Roadside Design Guide includes references to the TF13 Hardware Guides. In order to accommodate AASHTO, this volunteer group continues to meet on a semiannually basis and decided to officially create its own entity. This group concentrates on maintaining the guides so that practitioners can stay up to date on the latest roadside safety hardware that is available.

TF13 members are in the process of forming this group and have received a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from AASHTO, which addresses the relationship between the two entities.

“Task Force 13 meetings allow the group’s members to work diligently to ensure roadway safety is prioritized with bridge and roadway hardware by developing, recommending, and promoting standards that guarantee optimal function, aesthetics, and economy,” said ATSSA Senior Technical Advisor Eric Perry, who added TF13’s mission is accomplished through a series of eight active subcommittees, two of which Perry chairs.

Perry said the Barrier Hardware subcommittee’s focus is on maintaining the “Task Force 13 A Guide to Standardized Highway Barrier Hardware.” The TF13 subcommittees include publications maintenance, barrier hardware, bridge railing and transition hardwar, sign, luminaire, and traffic signal support hardware, work zone hardware, certification of test facilities, marketing, and delineation.

Additionally, Perry said much of the overall discussion focused on implementation sunset dates provided in the 2016 AASHTO Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH), which 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.

A website was also developed to house the various TF13 guides, which are a repository of all products used on the roadside and is intended to list the key characteristics and attributes of roadside safety products broken down into various categories (bridge railings, crash cushions, end treatment or terminals, guardrail or median barriers, luminaire supports, sign supports, transition systems, work zone systems, and components). The searchable guides provide more information about roadside products, including but not limited to key attributes, drawings, pictures, and other product materials.

Since the last TF13 meeting in the spring, about 20 new systems have been added to the guide and each of these systems received FHWA Letters. Each subcommittee will continue to work to add new systems to the guide as they are received in the future. These reviews are facilitated by the co-chairs of the subcommittee and submitted for peer review before being accepted into the guide.

The next TF13 meeting will be held April 17-19, 2019 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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