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CAT Coalition working group shares research on AV issues, primer plans

Participants share impacts of AVs on highway infrastructure and report on U.S. readiness

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Members of the Cooperative Automated Transportation Coalition Infrastructure-Industry (CAT I-I) Working Group shared recently that they are assembling a primer with acronyms and definitions for autonomous vehicle (AV) and connected vehicle (CV) infrastructure and technology.

The primer is not the first of its kind but intended to “bridge the gap” between Infrastructure Owner-Operators (IOOs) and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) practitioners, according to the CAT I-I working group members.

The working group's recent meeting also included presentations by Ted Hamer, managing director at KPMG Corporate Finance, and Paul Carlson, chief technology officer at Road Infrastructure Inc.

ATSSA endorses rural road safety legislation introduced in the House

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Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) introduced H.R. 2481, the High Risk Rural Roads Safety Grant Program Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bipartisan proposal, which is strongly supported by ATSSA, would direct federal roadway safety infrastructure funds to locally owned rural roads.

The fatality rate on rural roads is two times greater than on non-rural roads, according to U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) statistics. Additionally, local governments generally do not have the resources needed to make critical, lifesaving roadway safety infrastructure investments.

H.R. 2481 would create a $600 million competitive grant program that local governments could apply for, with the federal grant being funded at 100%. A specific $100 million set-aside is also included for tribal road safety.

In addition to ATSSA, the American Highway Users Alliance, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), National Association of Counties (NACo), National Association of County Engineers (NACE) and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) endorsed the legislation.

Trottenberg confirmed as deputy secretary of transportation

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The Senate today confirmed Polly Tottenberg as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

Trottenberg previously served as New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner, and prior to that, was Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy during the Obama Administration.

ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner congratulated Trottenberg on her confirmation.

Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives.

Support work zone safety during National Work Zone Awareness Week 2021

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FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (April 12, 2021) – Everyone deserves to get home safely.

National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), in its 21st year, is a national public awareness campaign that spreads the message that we are all responsible for work zone safety. This year’s NWZAW is April 26-30 with the theme of “Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives."

“National Work Zone Awareness Week is meant to heighten everyone’s awareness of the need to be alert when approaching a work zone and then traveling safely through the area,” said ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner. “Everyone’s safety is at risk in these work zones and we want everyone—workers, motorists and their passengers--to get to their destinations and home again safely.”

ATSSA asks DOTs for support during tightening of raw materials market

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ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner sent a letter today to directors of state departments of transportation (DOTs) on behalf of the roadway safety infrastructure industry as it struggles with a tightening of the raw materials market.

“Currently, the availability of several key raw materials has tightened in the market from several factors including reduced production from COVID‐19 plant shutdowns and the extreme weather events in the Midwest/Texas in February,” Tetscher says in the letter. “This tightening of raw materials is impacting metals and petroleum‐based products used in the roadway safety industry, including aluminum, steel, plastic, and pavement marking and high friction surface treatment resins.”

He notes that the shrinking supply of these materials has a direct effect on the roadway safety infrastructure industry.

ATSSA partners with Certified Safe Driver Inc. to offer driver education courses

ATSSA members receive a discounted rate with a registration promo code

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ATSSA has partnered with Certified Safe Driver Inc. (CSD Inc.) to bring driver education courses and services to its members at a discount.

Members can choose from more than a dozen courses and services including Defensive Driving for Class A, B and C; Licensing School for Class A, B and C; Truck Driver School for the CDL Class, A, B and C; License Upgrade CDL School and One-to-One Behind the Wheel Evaluation.

“We are always looking for ways to enhance our training offerings and meet the needs of our members,” ATSSA Training Director Rameeza Shaikh said. “This partnership with Certified Safe Driver Inc. provides an excellent way to provide driver education courses to our members at a great rate. Well-trained drivers help keep the roadways safe.”

ATSSA issues recommendations for a Vulnerable Road Users Program

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ATSSA recently released its recommendations for “Developing an Effective Vulnerable Road User (VRU) Program” to address rising pedestrian fatalities as well as the safety of people not in vehicles but who utilize the roadways.

“This includes bicyclists and others who might not only walk, but roll, and are at a distinct and dangerous disadvantage when crossing a road or being in a road with vehicles and trucks,” ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner said in a letter to the heads of state departments of transportation (DOTs) across the country.

The document includes 19 recommendations assembled by ATSSA’s Traffic Signals Committee that Tetschner said ATSSA believes “will help put VRUs on a more equal footing with vehicle‐based travel, not only in terms of safety, but as a means of effective and efficient travel mode.”

Biden proposes $2 trillion infrastructure plan

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President Joe Biden today released a proposal to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure projects over an 8-year period. Dubbed the American Jobs Plan, the broadly defined infrastructure concept is separated into four components: Transportation infrastructure and roadway safety, “How We Live” infrastructure, “Care” infrastructure, and Innovation infrastructure.

"ATSSA applauds President Biden, Secretary [Pete] Buttigieg and the administration on ensuring that roadway safety is front and center in the American Jobs Plan,” ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner said. “Between increasing funding for roadway safety projects, a focus on pedestrian and bicyclist safety, encouraging and funding vision zero programs, and noting the emotional toll that roadway fatalities and serious injuries have on American families, this proposal will put us on a path of reducing fatalities toward zero in the decades to come. ATSSA looks forward to working with the Biden administration and Congress to make zero fatalities a reality through investments in roadway safety infrastructure.”

ATSSA thanks FHWA for extending feedback time for proposed MUTCD changes

Association joins other industry leaders in opposing rewrite of MUTCD

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ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner sent a letter thanking Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Acting Administrator Stephanie Pollack for extending the comment period for the Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) on the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

He noted the decade-old MUTCD needs an update, expressed ATSSA’s backing of the process and rejected the recent call by some to rewrite the MUTCD.

“ATSSA supports the ongoing process and we are confident that USDOT will obtain great feedback on how to improve this important manual,” Tetschner wrote. “We understand that some want to start over with the manual and we do not support this idea. We do, however, support a reexamination of the structure, process and content of the MUTCD at a later date. We also want to make it clear that this reexamination should not delay a new edition that our industry desperately needs.”

ATSSA reaches out to state DOTs for help regarding resin shortage

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ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner today sent a letter to the heads of state Departments of Transportation requesting assistance in light of the current shortage of base resin.

Two major manufacturers of base resin are currently unable to provide the substance used in High Friction Surface Treatment applications due to circumstances beyond their control, Tetschner explains in the letter. He notes that the issue is related to February’s extreme weather events in the Midwest and Texas.

“With US-based materials supply limited, increased costs over the last several months, and a significant delay in shipping overseas materials to the United States, it is likely that some already agreed upon supply contract deadlines will be impacted,” Tetschner states in today’s letter to DOT secretaries across the country.

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