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) have joined together to 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.


2023 Theme: Innovative Traffic Control Devices to Improve Vulnerable Road User Safety


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 2023 TCD Student Challenge is: Innovative Traffic Control Devices to Improve Vulnerable Road User Safety. Vulnerable road users include pedestrians, bicyclists and micromobility users. From 1996 to 2020, the proportion of traffic fatalities involving persons outside of a motor vehicle has increased from a low to 20% to a high of 34%. While various safety measures exist to help protect vulnerable road users, the statistics show there is still work to be done in this area. The objective for the 2023 TCD Student Challenge is to devise an innovative traffic control device to improve vulnerable road user safety, which can be addressed for intersections or non-intersections, urban or rural environments, and any type of roadway.


Applications were due Oct. 1, 2022, the submission process is now closed.

The application for the 2024 challenge will be available in April 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: Zijie Zhao (team leader), Stanton Freeman, Jessie Chea, Fanguian Yang, Tonghui Li (shown in photo)

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

School: Michigan State University