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Right-of-Way Research

Current Right-of-Way Research Topics

STEP: Commercial Electronic Variable Message Sign (CEVMS) Study on Driver Attention and Distraction

The scope of the study of commercial electronic variable message signs on driver attention includes evaluating their potential risk to safety. The study's primary focus is the effect of CEVMS on driver behavior.

Phase I (complete)
The initial phase began in January 2008, and has been completed by Turner-Fairbank. A draft report has been received, peer reviewed, and approved. This phase identified and evaluated the most significant measures and issues involved, and developed research methods needed to secure reliable data information. This report will be posted to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) home page as soon as it is available at

Phase II (under review)
The second phase of this contracted research study is currently being defined, and will utilize the research methods identified in the initial phase. Following completion of the field study, a draft report will be completed in December 2009.

A preliminary experimental design has been developed under which FHWA researchers and their contractors will conduct field experiments at two cities yet to be selected. According to the research design, the two sites will have a number of CEVMS displays, together with standard vinyl billboards and other objects of visual interest, along a single driving route of an hour or less in duration. A number of research participants will be recruited in each of the study areas. Each research participant will drive in an FHWA instrument equipped test vehicle. Each participant will return for multiple drives under differing conditions, for example, day vs. night, heavy traffic vs. light traffic, freeways vs. arterials, etc. The instrumentation in the test vehicle is capable of measuring eye-glances of the participant drivers, as well as certain vehicle performance parameters. The eye-glance data will permit the researchers to measure the percentage of time that the participant drivers looked at the roadway ahead, and the time that the drivers looked at the CEVMS advertising displays, at standard vinyl billboards, and other selected objects. This update provides information regarding the present general research approach. However the actual experimental design which is ultimately implemented could differ.

To date, the initial progress on Phase II of the project is focusing on the development of an experimental design, the selection and acquisition of an eye-tracking system for the FHWA test vehicle, and the development and transmittal of the criteria to select the most optimal study sites to each of the FHWA Division offices. The deadline for the FHWA Division offices to submit proposed sites is February 13, 2009.

FHWA will analyze the results of this study to identify subsequent guidance, regulatory changes, or suggested legislative proposals to react to the findings of this report.

FHWA Contacts:

Turbo Expert Electronic Relocation System

The objective of the Turbo Expert Electronic Relocation System project is to provide a tool(s) to the SDOTs, FHWA Divisions, and other Federal agencies that will help ensure that relocation calculations are accurate, in accordance with current regulations, and completed in a uniform manner. This system will help to ensure that those relocated for federally aided programs or projects are receiving proper relocation benefits in a timely manner. This system will conform to the Uniform Act as well as all applicable Federal, DOT, and FHWA statutes, regulations, and guidelines for information technology systems.

FHWA contact:


Updated: 04/02/2013
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