Transportation & Vehicle Safety Policy

Thomas Schnell

  • Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering, UI College of Engineering
  • Founder and Director, Operator Performance Laboratory
  • Project Development Director, Center for Computer Aided Design
  • Researcher, Transportation and Vehicle Safety Policy Research Program


Tom Schnell is a professor of industrial engineering with a specialization in human factors/ergonomics at the University of Iowa College of Engineering. He is the founder and director of the Operator Performance Laboratory (OPL) at the Center for Computer Aided Design (CCAD). He is also the project development director at CCAD. The OPL conducts human factors research in a number of areas of surface and air transportation. Tom has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and an M.S. and Ph.D. in industrial engineering with a specialization in human factors. He is a commercial pilot, flight instructor, CAP mission pilot, and certified (JLFC) formation pilot, and has glider and CE-500 type ratings. Tom is a member of several technical societies and committees, including the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Transportation Research Board (TRB), the International Illumination Committee (CIE), and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He has authored or co-authored more than 90 technical papers.

Research Interests

  • Human visual performance in transportation systems including traffic signs, pavement markings, lighting systems, and visual enhancement systems using sensor fusion
  • Synthetic Vision Systems (SVS)
  • Augmented cognition
  • Workload measurement using physiological methods

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Industrial Engineering, Ohio University, 1998
  • M.S., Industrial Engineering, Ohio University, 1994
  • B.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Applied Sciences, 1992