Research project update: Wall of Wind research for safer highways through new VMS standards

Dr. Arindam Chowdhury at Florida International University is conducting a research project that will have practical safety applications.

He is looking at the cornerstones of ITS infrastructure, Variable Message Signs (VMS), which warn motorists of  impending hazards, such as fog, traffic congestion, and accidents.

VMS structures are relatively heavy and larger than typical flat panel signs. As a result, they are subject to higher wind loads and inertial effects which can render them vulnerable to large-amplitude vibrations and fatigue failure.

It is unclear that the design provisions in the current AASHTO supports specifications are entirely applicable to VMS structures. The objective of Chowdhury’s project is the development of accurate drag coefficients for incorporation into the AASHTO supports specifications. This will foster safer and more economic design for VMS structures. The project is being carried out at the Wall of Wind, the largest and most powerful university research facility, capable of simulating Cat 5 hurricane wind and rain.

Dr. Chowdhury will be presenting his work at the 12th Americas Conference on Wind Engineering in Seattle WA in June.

For more information on this project, click here.


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