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3 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION PURPOSE OF SYNTHESIS Lessons learned (i.e., what worked and what did not work); Following is a definition that has been used to describe the Institutional issues, including upper management sup- technology known as visualization: port; and Ways to sustain visualization production capability. Using the computer to convert data into picture form. The most basic visualization is that of turning transaction data and sum- mary information into charts and graphs. Visualization is used in In summary, this synthesis report provides transportation computer-aided design (CAD) to render screen images into 3-D agencies with a concise set of case studies that highlights the [three-dimensional] models that can be viewed from all angles best practices and experiences of using visualization within and which can also be animated (1). the project development process. This definition, although useful, is just one of many definitions that have been used for the term. Varying definitions have led SCOPE OF WORK transportation planners, designers, and engineers to interpret visualization differently. To combat this confusion, trans- This synthesis report has been generated by conducting inter- portation agencies look to other agencies for help in address- views with various transportation agencies, universities, and ing their needs for visualization. This synthesis focuses on the consultants throughout the United States. The interview ques- best practices and experiences with leading transportation tionnaire for this synthesis appears as Appendix G. Interviews agencies that are developing and incorporating visualization were conducted from March 2005 through June 2005 and into the "preconstruction" component of the project develop- included the following agencies and organizations: ment process. New York State Department of Transportation The information gathered from the case study agencies (NYSDOT) will address (but not be limited to) the following topics: Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Business drivers who started the process of adopting FHWA--Eastern Federal Lands visualization technologies; Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) Evolution of the process of adopting visualization Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) technologies; TRB--Transportation Safety Integration of visualization with other agency processes State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo (in particular, other processes using spatial data); Illinois Institute of Technology Visual interviews with key individuals (i.e., testimonials); Bentley Systems, Inc. Hardware and software used to generate applications; URS Creative Imaging Group. Activities for which visualization is being used, including design/build, context-sensitive solutions, and homeland To augment and assist in the preparation of these interviews, security; additional information was acquired through the Internet and Staffing and training (e.g., in-house versus contracted, the review of previous TRB and AASHTO documentation con- centralized versus decentralized, and number of per- cerning the uses of visualization. sons doing visualization); Costs (e.g., costs relative to overall project costs); This report focused on obtaining case studies of the best Benefits (e.g., reduced change orders and litigation, practices and experiences of visualization within transporta- improved public buy-in to projects, and streamlining of tion agencies. Its intent is to describe the uses of visualization processes); in an effort to develop standards and guidelines. Currently, Examples of successful use (e.g., for internal design coor- there are no national standard visualization guidelines that dination and for public involvement); transportation agencies follow.