UT Tyler Office of Marketing and Communications
UT Tyler Engineering Professor Continues Collaboration with TxDOT in Multiple Research Studies
September 19, 2011
Media Contact: Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769 or 903.539.7196 (cell)
Dr. Wei “David” Fan, associate professor of civil engineering at The University of Texas at Tyler, has received nearly $440,000 from the Texas Department of Transportation to assist the agency in work zone fatality prevention, pavement performance evaluation and equipment maintenance, Dr. Michael Odell, director of sponsored research, announced.
Fan previously collaborated with TxDOT with research awards totaling more than $227,000. To date, he has been involved with research projects totaling nearly $1.65 million.
Among the current two-year studies, Fan will help TxDOT prevent construction work zone fatalities with a $160,140 grant.
“The American Road and Transportation Builders Association named run-overs and back-overs as the leading cause of death for roadway construction workers, with over half occurring when workers were struck by construction vehicles or equipment inside the work zone,” Fan explained. “This two-year study will review current practices and procedures to prevent backing fatalities and propose recommendations for TxDOT traffic control practices, incorporating commercially available systems for the prevention of those fatalities.”
With a $148,667 grant, Fan will evaluate and modify existing systems regarding hot mix asphalt and ride specifications of concrete and asphalt pavements.
“The systems proposed under the revised framework will incorporate the economic implications associated with superior – or inferior – pavement performance as they translate to extended – or reduced – pavement service life,” Fan said.
“A rational system should reflect that the bonuses awarded to the contractors neither exceed the benefits to the highway agency, nor the penalties levied from the contractors fall short of the potential losses incurred by the agency due to a reduced service life,” he added.
Fan also will continue enhancing fleet management, including equipment replacement and retention decision making, with a $130,308 grant.
Maintaining a fleet robust enough to capably respond in a multi-event contingency is critical, according to Fan.
“It’s essential to accomplishing the daily departmental mission, but costly,” Fan said. “On one hand, reductions in fleet costs are potentially beneficial to the department as a whole and thereby beneficial to the taxpayers of the State of Texas. On the other hand, not being able to respond adequately under disaster/emergency conditions is unacceptable.
“TxDOT’s new equipment replacement optimization software produced through our previous project can optimize the equipment keep/replacement decision process potentially resulting in substantial cost savings,” Fan said.
As future funding levels become more uncertain, non-availability of funds for vehicle replacement when optimally suggested by software is very likely, he added.
All three studies are in collaboration with the UT Austin Center for Transportation Research.
A registered professional engineer in Texas and nationally recognized scholar, Fan serves on many technical committees and is a member of the Public Transport Committee and the Rail Transportation Committee of American Society of Civil Engineers. Fan also serves as a technical advisory panel member for TxDOT.
He holds a Ph.D. in civil engineering with a specialization in transportation engineering and minor in operations research from UT Austin.
One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of almost 7,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.