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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 2, 2005

UI Engineer Receives $132,445 Contract To Study Road Markings

Fuat Aktan, research engineer at the Operator Performance Laboratory (OPL) in the University of Iowa College of Engineering's internationally known Center for Computer Aided Design (CCAD), has received a $132,445 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) contract to help determine federal requirements for nighttime visibility of roadway pavement markings.

The project is aimed at refining current federal standards and will make use of an advanced visibility model Aktan and his colleagues developed called the "Tarvip Model." The model provides nighttime visibility distances for pedestrians, pavement markings, traffic signs and similar objects that drivers encounter during nighttime driving. To determine visibility, the model combines the photometric and radiometric properties of light provided by headlamp illumination and overhead lighting reflected from these objects, with human factors expertise and years of empirical laboratory and field research. Aktan and his team will use and enhance the model to finalize the federal standards for minimum nighttime pavement marking retroreflectivity.

"This has been a top priority for a while in the FHWA, as Congress mandated establishment of minimum retroreflectivity standards for traffic signs and pavement markings," Aktan says. "This is a highly prestigious assignment, and since we developed the Tarvip Model, we received the grant."

His colleagues in the study include: Dr. Thomas Schnell, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering; Dr. Paul Carlson of the Texas Transportation Institute; Carlton Richey, CCAD research engineer; and Tawanchai Phohom, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,