Cooperative Automated Transportation (CAT)

Cooperative Automated Transportation

Roadway safety in a cooperative automated world

Highway automation is not years away, or even days away. It’s here now, causing a number of state transportation agencies to react with initiatives related to preparing and supporting Connected Automated Vehicles (CAVs) on U.S. roadways.

Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs)

Cooperative Automated Transportation (CAT) deals with CAVs, which are vehicles capable of driving on their own with limited or no human involvement in navigation and control. Per the definition adopted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are six levels of automation (Levels 0-2: driver assistance and Levels 3-5: HAV), each of which requires its own specification and marketplace considerations.

Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) and Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs)

For traffic safety, vehicle-to-everything communications is the wireless exchange of critical safety and operational data between vehicles and anything else. The "X" could be roadway infrastructure, other vehicles, roadway workers or other safety and communication devices. ATSSA members are at the forefront of these technologies, and are working with stakeholders across new industries to see these innovations come to life.

Sensor Technology

CAVs rely on three main groups of sensors: camera, radar, and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR). The camera sensors capture moving objects and the outlines of roadway devices to get speed and distance data. Short- and long-range radar sensors work to detect traffic from the front and the back of CAVs. LIDAR systems produce three-dimensional images of both moving and stationary objects.

For more information about ATSSA’s efforts on CAT and CAV’s and their interaction with our member products check out the resources below.


Engineering students can now apply to enter the 2019 Traffic Control Device Challenge

Engineering students can now apply to enter the 2019 Traffic Control Device Challenge

Traffic Control Device Challenge promotes roadway safety innovation

The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) and the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Standing Committee on Traffic Control Devices (AHB50) have announced the launch of the 2019 Traffic Control Device (TCD) Challenge.

For three years, the TCD Challenge has offered students an opportunity to develop roadway safety solutions and promote the innovation of traffic control devices that can save lives.

“The Traffic Control Device Challenge is an important competition that ATSSA co-organizes because it provides a chance for future industry professionals to connect with our members, who represent a large portion of the roadway safety industry, and with transportation professionals at the TRB Annual Meeting,” said ATSSA Director of New Programs Brian Watson.

Applications are now available for the 2019 TCD Challenge.

The competition is open to individuals or teams of high school, junior college, and university students with an interest in transportation and traffic control devices. Students in relevant fields, including transportation, human factors, and graphic design-related areas are encouraged to participate.

Owen Hitchcock, a former Pennsylvania State University student who was on the first-place team for the 2017 and 2018 competitions, said participating in the TCD Challenge allowed he and his team members to come up with a solution to address a prevalent industry issue and exposed them to other problems occurring on U.S. roadways.

“Not only did I get to present the result of the team's hard work but hearing feedback from industry professionals was constructive and thought-provoking,” Hitchcock said. “From our discussions, I learned more about the industry needs and how our idea could be further improved. I also got to walk around the traffic expo to see all the innovative traffic control devices exhibitors brought to display.”

Click here to learn more about the 2018 winners.

A webinar will be held on May 8 to provide in-depth information on the TCD Challenge, the collaboration between ATSSA and TRB, why the competition is beneficial for the future of roadway safety and highlighting the winning teams and ideas from its first two years. The webinar is open to the public. To sign up for the webinar, click here.

The deadline to submit an application for the 2019 TCD Challenge is early October. For more information about how to apply, email TRB Engineer of Traffic and Operations Richard Cunard at

Click here for more information about the 2019 TCD Challenge.

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