ATSSA Blog

Wanted: Students with creative minds to tackle a traffic safety challenge

Traffic Control Device Student Challenge returns after pandemic pause

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ATSSA and the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Standing Committee on Traffic Control Devices invite students to compete in the 2022 Traffic Control Device (TCD) Student Challenge.

The contest returns after a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students are challenged to come up with “Innovative Traffic Control Device Strategies for Speed Management on Limited Access Freeways.”

The TCD Student Challenge promotes innovation and stimulates ideas in the traffic control devices industry with a goal to improve operations and safety and encourage future generations of roadway safety professionals. As part of the challenge, individuals or student teams submit solutions in the subject area of transportation and roadway safety based on the topic for the year.

FHWA schedules three webinars for proposed MUTCD updates

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has scheduled three webinars through April 1 on topics related to the proposed updates to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (MUTCD).

The webinars take place at 2 p.m. EDT and are scheduled as follows: March 18, Introduction and Overview; March 25,  Pedestrians, Bicycles and Transit; and April 1, Urban Traffic Control.

The MUTCD has not undergone a comprehensive update in more than a decade. FHWA is currently accepting comments.

Register now for ATSSA’s 2021 Legislative Briefing & Virtual Fly-In

Connect with Capitol Hill policymakers from a socially distant virtual platform

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Take part in ATSSA’s 2021 Legislative Briefing & Virtual Fly-In from the comfort and safety of home. The April 21-22 event is free for members and will be completely online making access to Capitol Hill policymakers convenient and effective.

Last year’s virtual event proved popular with ATSSA members and provided a great way to interact with legislators without the need for travel. Participants drove their message to Capitol Hill and enjoyed direct interactions with members of Congress and congressional staff involved in funding and policy decisions.

ATSSA’s Legislative Briefing & Fly-In equips members to present key roadway safety infrastructure industry issues directly to political leaders and this year’s issues are key for the industry. The FAST Act, or Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, was a hot topic last year as ATSSA members advocated successfully for a one-year extension but a new deadline is looming.

Three companies provide significant help to ATSS Foundation

Generosity helps nonprofit address challenges due to COVID restrictions

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Generous support from PPG/Ennis-Flint, 3M and Ver-Mac made a significant difference for The ATSS Foundation as it started 2021.

The Foundation was forced to cancel its two biggest fundraisers of the year due to COVID-19 restrictions so the assistance from the companies during ATSSA’s recent Convention & Traffic Expo makes a big impact, said Foundation Director Lori Diaz.

Traditionally, The Foundation holds its golf and sporting clays events in conjunction with the Convention but the Convention was forced to move to an online platform as a result of the pandemic, which also meant the two popular events weren’t held.

They’re baaaaaaaaaack – Earmarks that is

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Late last week, House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) announced a process for bringing back congressional directed funding, also known as earmarks. Additionally, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) disseminated a “Dear Colleague” letter to members of Congress indicating his plan to include earmarks in the upcoming highway bill, which is expected to be part of a larger House infrastructure package.

Earmarks are projects that receive some level of federal funding for state and local projects in congressional districts. They differ from competitive grant programs in that competitive grants are applied for and decided by staff at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), whereas earmarks are advocated for by interested parties and members of Congress decide if they want to include them in a particular legislative vehicle.

Because of an extremely bloated earmark process in the 2005 surface transportation bill, Congress opted to ban earmarks starting in 2011. Since then, there have been occasional rumors that they may return; however, DeLauro’s and DeFazio’s announcements mark the first time there has been this serious of an effort.

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