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

Traffic Control Device Challenge winners recognized at ATSSA event

Students from across the nation participated in ATSSA-TRB competition to address pedestrian and bicyclist safety

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (Feb. 12, 2019) – The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), in partnership with the National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board (TRB), today honored the winners of the ATSSA/TRB Traffic Control Device Challenge (TCD Challenge).

Engineering students from across the U.S. competed in the TCD Challenge, which was titled: Traffic Control Device Innovations to Improve Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety at Signalized Intersections. When submitting ideas for innovations, students were asked to consider how the current system needs to change or how new innovations can be effectively applied to improve safety at signalized intersections; what are the traffic control device designs, ideas, enhancements, and/or standards that will improve pedestrian and bicycle safety at signalized intersections; and how technology can play a role?

“Being able to co-host this competition with TRB not only allows ATSSA to present a pressing issue within the industry and conjure potential solutions,” said ATSSA Director of New Programs Brian Watson. “It also provides us the opportunity to encourage young minds to get more involved within the roadway safety industry and look ahead to possible future innovations. This year, challenge winners addressed a serious concern within the industry and we hope their ideas resonate with all those involved with roadway safety.”

Finalists from across the United States were evaluated for the awards during the January TRB Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Following a second round of selections, the first, second, and third place winners were announced. This week, the top three finalists presented their concepts to the roadway safety industry – and nearly 3,500 guests – during ATSSA’s 49th Annual Convention and Traffic Expo, held from Feb. 8-12 in Tampa, Florida. The winning teams also received cash prizes and plaques for their submissions.

The winners include:

1st Place ($1,500)

Title: Vision-Based Pedestrian Indicator Light for Signalized Intersections

Student team: Jacob Kaltenbronn and Zhu Qing

School: University of Missouri

2nd Place ($1,000)

Title: Flashing Yellow Arrows

Student team: Cadell Chand, Zach Barlow, Hisham Jashami, and Dylan Horne

School: Oregon State University

3rd Place ($500)

Title: Application of RFID at Signalized Intersections in School Zones

Student team: Michael Zhou, Nikitha Sridhar, Joy Zou, and Eric Mao

School: Auburn High School and Newport High School

Participants in the contest included students from high schools, community colleges, college or graduate students, or teams of students with an interest in transportation. All submissions were original designs or modifications to industry-accepted designs or products. A panel of TRB experts judged entries based on the ability of the idea to address a specific roadway problem, how easily it would be understood by all road users, its applicability on a nationwide basis, and its feasibility for implementation. For more information about the 2020 competition, email Watson at

9645 Rate this article:
Please login or register to post comments.