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.





TxDOT’s Bass: Safety is job #1
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TxDOT’s Bass: Safety is job #1

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Executive Director James Bass emphasized the department’s focus on safety as its number one priority in his welcoming remarks at the recent Transportation Research Board’s Safety Design meeting in Austin.

Bass outlined the challenges faced by the agency at it manages over 80,000 centerline miles of roadway and is responsible for over 54,000 bridges. He stated that 537 million vehicle miles are logged on state-maintained roadways every day. And, the state has had a growing population and rising VMT for a decade.

TxDOT’s safety efforts have been funded in the past in part by a $600 million Highway Safety Bond Program awarded by the Texas Transportation Commission in 2009. Among other improvements, the installation of almost 300 miles of median barrier resulted from this program. From 2017 – 2020, the department will expend nearly $700 million of Highway Safety Improvement Program Funds to construct intersection improvements, add curve warning signs, LED chevrons on curves, rumble strips, safety lighting, improve super elevation and widen highways.

Roadway departure crashes are a particular focus of the state’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). From 2010 – 2016 they accounted for 45% of all fatal crashes and more than 30,000 serious injury crashes. Bass added that 58% of lane and roadway departure fatal and serious injury crashes occurred in rural areas and 42% in urban areas. As a result of this data, TxDOT is undertaking a special study to evaluate roadside treatments to mitigate roadway departure crashes. The study will commence in September with a target completion date of February 2020. A second project on the same schedule will assess options to retrofit guardrail systems to accommodate motorcycle safety.

Bass concluded his remarks by stating that roadside safety is an ever-evolving challenge and that we must better understand how crashes occur and what engineers, researchers and safety professionals can do to lessen the severity of those crashes. Ultimately, the goal is to save lives and reduce injuries on all Texas roadways.

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