Researchers with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) played major roles in this year’s American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) Annual Convention and Traffic Expo, held in Phoenix, Arizona, Feb. 10-14. ATSSA’s 47th Annual Convention attracted more than 3,000 participants from the roadway safety industry, and a record number of vendors displayed their products.
Among the highlights of the convention, ATSSA partnered with the Transportation Research Board (TRB) in honoring engineering students who took part in a first annual Traffic Control Device Challenge, which originated from TRB’s Traffic Control Device Committee chaired by TTI’s Paul Carlson.
“The TRB Committee has been working for years on a way to get the next generation of students interested and involved in research on traffic control devices,” Carlson, head of TTI’s Traffic Operations and Roadway Safety Division, explains. “The response to the challenge was exceptional, and the top three winning teams were able to present their ideas at the ATSSA Convention and Expo, where they met with traffic control device and roadway safety companies.”
Teams of engineering students from across the county took part in the challenge. First place went to Penn State University for its entry “Electronic Beacon to Guide Autonomous Vehicles through Work Zones.”
“We were very impressed with the students’ ideas, and we plan to host the winning teams again next year,” says ATSSA Communications Director James Baron. “It was very rewarding to see the creative ideas from the students, and it gave them a chance to interact directly with roadway safety product and services manufacturers, which is something they normally wouldn’t have the chance to do.”
Carlson introduced the teams of students and explained the competition during the convention’s opening session. He also conducted a workshop on machine vision and road marking research.
Among the other TTI researchers presenting at the convention:
- Melisa Finley detailed TTI’s work on driveway assistance devices that can be used to control traffic and improve safety during construction of low-volume, two-lane roadways.
- Bob Brydia described the Texas A&M University Campus Transportation Technology Initiative, which identifies promising private-sector products and innovations for improving safety, mobility and quality of life across Texas A&M.
- Dean Alberson spoke on the MASH update.
- Jerry Ullman presented information about the end-of-queue warning system being used during lane closures on the I-35 reconstruction project.
- Charles Stevens presented an update to the guardrail committee about the hardware identification methods project.
Next year’s ATSSA Convention and Traffic Expo will be held in San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 26-30.