Thomas Schnell

Title & Affiliation
Senior Faculty Affiliate Transportation and Vehicle Safety Policy Research Program
Director Operator Performance Laboratory
Associate Director Center for Computer Aided Design
Professor Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering


  • PhD, Industrial Engineering, Ohio University, 1998
  • MS, Industrial Engineering, Ohio University, 1994

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. Schnell is a member of several technical societies and committees, including the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Transportation Research Board, the International Illumination Committee, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has authored or co-authored more than 90 technical papers.

Research Interests

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