TCD Student Challenge

TCD Student Challenge

Traffic Control Device (TCD) Student Challenge

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Standing Committee on Traffic Control Devices (ACP55) and the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) sponsor and conduct the 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.


2024 Theme: Innovations to Improve the Nighttime Visibility of Traffic Control Devices


Guidelines for Participation

The TCD Student Challenge is open to individual students or teams of students from high school, junior college, student college or university (graduate or undergraduate) who have an interest in transportation and an understanding of traffic control devices. Students in relevant fields such as transportation-, human factors- and technology- related curricula are particularly encouraged to participate.


The TCD Student Challenge submittals will help to encourage innovation and creative thought in the transportation community. Contest participants will receive the opportunity to vet their designs in a public forum during the TRB Annual Meeting. Up to three winning submissions will receive additional recognition and be invited to the ATSSA Convention & Traffic Expo.


Problem Statement

The theme for the 2024 TCD Student Challenge is: Innovations to Improve Nighttime Visibility of Traffic Control Devices. The current nighttime fatality rate on our nation’s roadways is three times higher than during the daytime, with decreased visibility at night being a contributing factor. Continual improvement in the nighttime visibility of roadway features and TCDs that help guide and warn drivers and other road users of upcoming changes to the roadway and its environment is imperative. Every Day Counts (EDC) round 7 highlights innovations to improve safety for all users, including nighttime visibility for safety. Although some EDC countermeasures and approaches have been successful in improving nighttime visibility, much work remains to be done, particularly with regards to TCD visibility.



The objective of the 2024 TCD Student Challenge is to devise an innovative approach to enhancing the visibility of TCDs at night, thereby improving road user safety. The TCD strategy can address improving nighttime visibility for any road user (e.g., driver, pedestrian, bicyclist, etc.) and any road environment (e.g., any type of facility, work zones, school zones, pedestrian crossings, etc.).


Learn more in the Theme and Contest Rules Guide


Apply online by Oct. 1, 2023


Winners of the 2023 Challenge


Three finalist teams were selected during the TRB Annual Meeting early January in Washington, D.C. and traveled to ATSSA's 53rd Annual Convention & Traffic Expo, held Feb. 17-21 in Phoenix, to present their concepts during a Traffic Talk. Read more.


1st place

1st Place ($1,500)

Title: "Lenticular Traffic Signal"

Team (from left): Petru Sofio and Talia Askenazi

School: Arlington High School, Arlington, Mass.



2nd place

2nd Place ($1,000)

Title: "Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacon Supplement Strategy"

Team: Fangjian Yang (team leader, shown in photo), Zijie Zhao, Stanton Freeman, Jessie Chea, Tonghui Li

School: Auburn University



3rd place

3rd Place ($500)

Title: "Smart Safety Using Connected Dynamic Messaging Panel and Flashing Crosswalk for People Walking and Biking"

Team: Sagar Keshari (team leader, shown in photo), Sakar Pahari, Nischal Gupta, Gagan Gupta

School: Michigan State University