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24 fully understand what all the lines mean." He was com- and contracted. To assist project managers in the use of visu- mitted to planning and implementing the visuals, and he alization, the visualization group created a Visualization Proj- believed that visuals would be particularly effective for ect Workflow document (see Appendix C). This document large design projects. assists the project managers with understanding the options available, the assets needed, and the workflow to accomplish the task. To augment the project workflow and help project CASE STUDY 4: NEW YORK STATE managers focus on the specific visual tools and the final out- DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION put required, the group also created a Visualization Request Contact: Form (see Appendix D). Community Planning, Design, and Communications Manager The visualization group also established a feedback tool New York State DOT called the Visualization Assessment Form (see Appendix E), 1220 Washington Avenue which can help justify using visualization and provides guid- Building 4, Room 214A ance to the visualization group. Albany, NY 12232 These feedback tools have helped to increase the demand for visualization services. The majority of work comes from Organization project managers who have used the visualization group's services in the past. The Visualization Request Form acts as In 1993, the NYSDOT had skilled CADD people working in a performance agreement once the initial meeting and con- the Office of Engineering. A think tank was formed, and it was sequential "scoping" occur. decided to pursue computerized renderings of CADD files. The commissioner at the time was very proactive with visual- The criteria for establishing a project's priority are ization technologies and supported the study of visualization. A test was conducted in 1994 on the Heim Road project 1. Degree of complexity; located in Buffalo, New York. Renderings were created and 2. Potential for impact: environmental, economic, etc.; used at the project's public workshops. A visualization survey was conducted at the workshops asking citizens for their opin- 3. Potential for controversy; ion on the effectiveness of the visuals. Overwhelmingly, visu- 4. New facilities; and als were preferred over traditional plan sets. They were "far 5. Statewide significance. easier to understand." This research project and the subsequent survey led to the commissioner approving the start of a visu- The rating for each criterion is high, moderate, or low. alization section at NYSDOT. In 1995, visualization became operational; a formal group was established that is still in place The feedback forms have greatly increased the need for today. visualization technologies. They have also helped to improve the quality of the product and increased the project man- agers' satisfaction. Implementation Plan The investment, maintenance, and spending habits for Staffing the visualization group are part of the overall DOT engi- Some of the regional offices of NYSDOT have in-house visu- neering budget, which has a 3-year-long cycle. However, alization capabilities. In addition, NYSDOT has a centralized there is no specific budget for visualization. Purchasing and group of individuals completing visualization projects; how- training happen on an as-needed basis only. The visualiza- ever, they do not have any fully established standards or tion group primarily produces 3-D photo-simulations for guidelines and are not formally recognized as a group within public involvement projects. More advanced visual tools the DOT. This lack of recognition has created concern, such as animation and simulation are not often selected because there is volatility when a group lacks a definitive because of the production costs involved (i.e., staff-hours). identity with definitive career paths for its members. This However, the group is actively creating animation and sim- group completes most visualization projects, but not some ulation for multiple projects. projects located in the Buffalo and Long Island regions. All advanced visual applications such as animation and simula- Research and Development tion are produced by this central group. Visualization research is ongoing as the technology Internal Approval Process for Visualization evolves. Most of the research is conducted either by indi- vidual group members on their own initiative or through The project managers are the ultimate users and decision mak- group members' associations with other agencies, such as ers for all visualization services at NYSDOT, both in-house the TRB Task Force on Visualization in Transportation