T3 Webinar Overview

Effectiveness of Disseminating Traffic Messages on Dynamic Message Signs

View Webinar: link to this webinar's archive materials

Date:   Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Time:  1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET
Cost:  All T3 webinars are free of charge
PDH:  1.5   View PDH Policy

T3 Webinars are brought to you by the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Professional Capacity Building Program of the U.S. Department of Transportation's (U. S. DOT) ITS Joint Program Office (JPO). References in this webinar to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the U.S. DOT.


Dynamic message signs (DMS) have been used by transportation agencies to provide traffic information to drivers. Over the years, they have become key elements of many transportation management systems and advanced traveler information systems. DMS deliver traffic condition information to motorists regarding incidents, expected delays, travel times, diversion routes, and lane closures, etc. Many transportation agencies also display non-traffic related messages on DMS.

To be effective, a DMS must communicate useful messages that can be read and comprehended by drivers. This webinar will discuss how to present DMS messages effectively that could be easily comprehended by drivers. The discussion will include the effectiveness and safety of traffic and non-traffic related messages displayed on DMS. The webinar will also discuss how graphic-aid messages help the drivers better understand the messages and how New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA) uses full color/full matrix DMS to enhance its traveler information program.


Dr. Kathleen Harder will provide an overview of her research on designing “cognitively digestible” content on changeable message signs. She will share how effective information design influences drivers' understanding and behavior.

Dr. Jay Wang will share his research findings about message display on DMS. He will talk about issues in the design and display of DMS messages, the effects of adding graphics to the signs, and the results obtained from comparing motorists responses to both conventional and graphic-aided DMS.

Henry (Chip) Eibel Jr. and John Biront will focus on the design and operation of DMS boards, as well as the lessons learned over the past two years. The New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA) is in the process of installing over 200 Full Matrix Color DMS units on the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike.

Learning Objectives

This webinar will:

  • Identify the best methods to present the effective messages to drivers.
  • Offer an overview of human factors and traffic operation research conducted before that could be used to develop fundamental principles and guidelines for DMS message design.
  • Identify challenges, successes, and future direction for agencies regarding the use of full color matrix DMS.
  • Share lessons learned in employing graphics in dynamic message signs and its effects on motorists' responses.

Target Audiences

  • ITS and TMC Program Managers, consultants, vendors, academia, and government officials, including local, State, Federal and DOT, and any other individuals or entities involved in the design, deployment, operation, or evaluation of DMS
  • Those wanting to learn more about the effectiveness of DMS dissemination


Jimmy Chu, Transportation Specialist, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), (Washington, D.C.)

photograph of Jimmy Chu,

Mr. Jimmy Chu is a Transportation Specialist on the Traveler Information Management Team at FHWA in Washington, D.C. In this position, Mr. Chu oversees the Travel Time on Dynamic Message Signs program. He also manages the Transportation Management Center Pooled-Fund Study. He provides technical support to State agencies relating to traveler information programs. Prior to joining FHWA, Mr. Chu worked at the Virginia Department of Transportation for 25 years and was the manager of the Traffic Management Center in Northern Virginia. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland.


Shari Hilliard, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Engineer, Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT)

photograph of Shari Hilliard

Shari Hilliard is the ITS Engineer for the Kansas Department of Transportation, and has worked for KDOT for the past nine years. She managed the first statewide ITS deployments and the Wichita Traffic Management Center deployment and continues to manage ITS construction projects, ITS maintenance, and operations support contracts. Prior to joining KDOT, Ms. Hilliard worked in electric utility planning and demand forecasting. Ms. Hilliard holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Kansas State University and a Master of Engineering Management from Kansas State University.


Dr. Kathleen A. Harder, Director, Center for Design in Health at the University of Minnesota

photograph of Dr. Kathleen A. Harder

Dr. Kathleen A. Harder is the Director at the Center for Design in Health at the University of Minnesota, and the Director of Graduate Studies for the Human Factors Program. In her research program, she applies her expertise regarding the strengths and weaknesses of human information processing to design systems that facilitate improved human performance. Her research findings on information design in transportation can be seen on Minnesota's roads. Kathleen has a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Dartmouth College.

Dr. Jyh-Hone Jay Wang, Professor, Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Rhode Island (Kingston, RI)

photograph of Dr. Jyh-Hone Jay Wang

Jay Wang is a full professor in industrial engineering in the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Rhode Island. He has been engaged in human factors and driving safety research in transportation since 2000. His research in these areas has been sponsored by the University of Rhode Island Transportation Center, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), and New England Transportation Consortium. He has published many technical papers, including three in the Transportation Research Record. He is a member in the Transportation Research Board User Information Committee.

Henry (Chip) Eibel Jr., Acting Director of Operations for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA)

photograph of Henry (Chip) Eibel Jr.

Mr. Eibel is the Acting Director of Operations for the NJTA, which manages the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. Responsibilities include managing traffic engineering design, operations safety and planning, emergency services, and dissemination of information to various individuals and groups. These groups include the motoring public, executives, government agencies, State police, interagency groups, and more. He facilitates cooperation between departments to oversee and complete projects with NJTA employees, and is responsible in managing the state of the art New Jersey Statewide Traffic Management Center, known as the NJ STMC. This is a fast paced, high pressure environment, which includes the New Jersey State Police, the New Jersey Department of Transportation, and NJTA personnel.

John Biront, P.E., PTOE, Acting Traffic Engineer Authority with the Operations Department for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA)

photograph of John Biront

John Biront, Acting Traffic Engineer Authority with the Operations Department for NJTA, is a licensed P.E. and PTOE in the State of New Jersey. He is the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Metropolitan Section President for 2014. His responsibilities include traffic engineering design, signal maintenance and timings, sign design, variable message signs (VMS) display design, travel times implementation, and ensuring the continued safety and operations of our roadways. He is also responsible for construction contract reviews, which include major projects such as the Cape May bridges, guide sign replacement contracts on roadways, and the Garden State Parkway widening.