San Diego, CA, Septemeber 17, 2019 - The American Traffic Safety Services Association’s (ATSSA) board of directors recently approved the formation of a Traffic Signals Unit as a membership unit category within the association earlier this year at its Annual Convention & Traffic Expo and named Mike Schagrin from McCain, Inc. to chair the Traffic Signals Committee. Mike Schagrin brings a wealth of experience from both the U.S. Dot as well as industry and is a well-respected figure in connected and autonomous vehicles.
According to ATSSA Vice President of Member Services Donna Clark, this new venture is extremely beneficial for ATSSA, as these products will be involved in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs), pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and more sectors within the roadway safety industry.
Clark placed a heavy emphasis on having representation and connections with manufacturers and installers of traffic signals as they relate to CAVs.
"As CAV technology advances, it will be extremely beneficial to speak with one voice by representing all traffic safety devices, roadside infrastructure, pavement markings, and all things that relate to roadway safety," Clark said. "The only way to properly and advantageously do that is to be uniform and truly speak for the entire roadway safety industry."
Additionally, Clark said becoming involved with the traffic signal segment of the roadway safety industry will be advantageous for providing commentary for the new edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which the Deputy Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Brandye Hendrickson announced at ATSSA's Legislative Briefing & Fly-In that her administration would be releasing a Notice of Proposed Amendments (NPAs) this upcoming fall.
“Following Hendrickson’s announcement earlier this spring, our industry has sped up its pace to develop and provide commentary and suggestions to update the MUTCD in 2020,” said Senior Technical Advisor Eric Perry. “One particular area of interest in making those changes revolves around highway automation. ATSSA’s new establishment of a traffic signals group will be very impactful in the overall process, as we expand our focus to all traffic devices as they relate to CAVs and roadway safety and infrastructure overall.”
Mike Schagrin, who is a recognized CAV thought leader and industry advocate about the significant safety benefits of real-time communication between vehicles and traffic signal systems, said as devices and vehicles progress technologically, a major component for consideration is integration and communication.
“Situational awareness is key to safer driving and communicating real-time traffic signal information to drivers and vehicles is fundamental to a safer connected and autonomous vehicle future.”
According to Schagrin, besides the significant safety benefits of connected vehicles and infrastructure, there are tremendous operational benefits as well. Using the same technology, signal systems can be responsive to priority requests from first responders, transit vehicles, and vehicle platoons. Signal timing could be optimized to the traffic conditions as they exist throughout the road network – a foundation for smart city transportation.
Schagrin said agencies are already becoming more familiar with the connected infrastructure technology, referencing the Signal Phase and Timing (SPaT) Challenge. The initiative challenges local and state transportation infrastructure owners and operators to deploy short range communication technology so the traffic signals can communicate with equipped vehicles. To date, 26 states have stepped up to the challenge.
“As ATSSA begins to tap into this sector of the roadway safety industry, the association will be better prepared for integrated systems but especially new technologies that relate to CAVs and connected infrastructure.”
McCain, Inc. creates intelligent transportation solutions and traffic control equipment to promote safer, more mobile and livable communities. A wholly-owned subsidiary of the SWARCO Group, the San Diego-based transportation technology firm provides high-quality products and services to optimize signalized intersections, improving safety and quality of life for all road users. McCain’s innovative solutions are paving the way to the future by creating the next generation of smart city solutions and helping to prepare the infrastructure for connected and autonomous vehicles.
SWARCO is a global transportation technology leader dedicated to making the travel experience safer, quicker, more convenient, and environmentally sound. Headquartered in Austria, the SWARCO family celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019, honoring its expansive portfolio of urban and interurban traffic control, parking, public transport, and street lighting. SWARCO’s livable and smart city solutions include cooperative systems, infrastructure-to-vehicle communications, electromobility, and integrated software solutions. With solutions in 70 countries and more than 3,700 team members, SWARCO is leading the effort to shift conventional transportation management into the digital age.