Innovation

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

NPRO

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.



Resources

USDOT offering webinar on applying for SMART Grants

Register now for Sept. 29 webinar; applications due Nov. 18

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The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) will hold a Sept. 29 webinar to assist individuals interested in applying for a Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grant.

Registration is now open for the webinar, which runs from 2:30-4 p.m. ET.

The grants were authorized as part of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) approved in November. The new grant program offers up to $100 million annually over the next five years. The grants would fund transportation projects that “use data and technology to solve real-world challenges facing communities today,” according to the USDOT announcement.

The SMART Grants Program does not require other funding such as matching or cost sharing, according to USDOT.

Midyear Meeting starts Tuesday in Rhode Island

General session will address ongoing supply chain challenges

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ATSSA’s Midyear Meeting kicks off on Tuesday, launching the annual collaboration of industry insiders gathered to address the latest innovations and challenges in the roadway safety infrastructure industry.

This year’s event takes place in Providence, R.I., where Wednesday’s agenda includes a panel discussion on workforce, materials and supply chain issues.

“Construction and transportation industry challenges – potholes on the industry highway” will be moderated by ATSSA Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith. Panelists include Kate Fox Wood, senior director of government relations with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Jonathan Starks of FTR, who is a longtime member of the freight industry, and Sterling Wiggins with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The 1-hour session starts at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and will focus on the state of affairs across the construction and transportation industries and what the path forward may look like.

Apply for ATSSA’s New Products Rollout and Innovation Awards

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Apply by Dec. 1 to participate in ATSSA’s New Products Rollout (NPRO), which will be held during ATSSA’s 53rd Annual Convention & Traffic Expo in Phoenix, Feb. 17-21.

Exhibitors who introduced products after Jan. 1, 2020, are eligible to apply.

Entries accepted for NPRO will be included in the New Products Listing, which showcases the products to the roughly 3,700 roadway safety professionals who attend ATSSA’S Annual Convention & Traffic Expo, including listing on the Convention website and mobile app.

Innovation Awards are chosen from among the products selected for NPRO.

VDOT starts variable speed limits on northbound I-95

Read ATSSA’s analysis of variable speed zones in Roadway Safety magazine

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The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) takes the first step in activating its variable speed zone along Interstate 95 in the Fredericksburg region today.

New LED signs that can display variable speed limits will be illuminated for the first several days with the 65-70 mph limit to give drivers time to adjust to the presence of the signs, VDOT announced. The system will be fully activated on June 22, at which point speed limits could be anywhere between 35 mph and 70 mph.

ATSSA examined variable speed zones in the Winter 2022 issue of Roadway Safety magazine in an article that analyzed their use in multiple states. The article, “Do They Improve Safety?” reviewed details of how the new VDOT variable speed zone will work and how the zones have been used elsewhere in Virginia and in regions across the country.

ATSSA releases Special Report on raw materials issue

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ATSSA today released a Special Report on the raw materials shortage, which found that nearly 92% of members who responded to a recent survey were experiencing a shortage and 90% expect the situation to continue for at least six more months.

The report, “ATSSA Raw Materials Update,” is the result of three member surveys, the most recent of which was conducted in April. The percentage of members impacted by the raw materials shortage has increased with each survey, going from 75% in the first survey in March 2021 to 88% in June 2021 and now above 90%.

“Each of the ATSSA surveys showed that raw materials shortages were having a major impact on members who are directly engaged in providing roadway safety infrastructure, which poses a nationwide safety risk because their work is designed to save lives on streets and highways across the country,” the report states in its conclusions.

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