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31 CHAPTER FOUR CHALLENGES VISUALIZATION AND DESIGN PROCESS needs to be conducted on a series of projects to provide mea- surements. If a project manager perceives that the use of Transportation agencies face many challenges in using visu- visualization will improve the overall design process, the alization technologies, particularly the lack of centralized project manager will probably decide to use visualization in standards and guidelines. Without such standards and guide- the design process. Because 3-D CADD is a particularly lines, visualization technologies cannot be formally inte- effective way to incorporate visualization into the design grated into the design process. process, costbenefit analyses should pay particular attention to this process. Most agencies studied for this synthesis showed that visual- ization, when used, is usually an independent process performed The case studies for this synthesis have supported the use only at the end of the preliminary design phase, not in the final of visualization; however, they have not provided quantitative design phase. During the end of the preliminary design phase-- measures of costs versus benefits. For example, although the public involvement period--multiple preliminary design visualization played a vital role in the redesign of the Caltrans alternatives are presented to the public for approval. Once a pre- Devil's Slide project and in getting approvals that have eluded ferred alternative selection is made, the final design phase begins the DOT for years, no costbenefit analysis was completed and the use of visualization ends. This approach, which most for the project. The improvements and savings are valued by decision makers take, is not ideal. In an ideal approach, visual- the project team, but translating them to non-team members ization would continue into the final design phase, and visuals has proven to be difficult. Similarly, in other studies cited in that were created in the preliminary design phase would be mod- this synthesis, although visualization was determined to aid ified and enhanced in the final design phase. In this way, visual with various projects, the benefits (design improvements, cost tools can add tremendous value to the design process, as has savings, efficiencies, and so forth) were difficult to quantify. been demonstrated in this synthesis. A detailed study to measure the benefits of the technology is needed. During the 1990s, highway design changed rapidly throughout the United States. A new and better way of design- The TRB Visualization in Transportation Task Force ing highways evolved based on growing interest in the (ABJ95T) formed a subcommittee to initiate a project to improvement of highways and their integration into the com- coordinate and assess the systemic use of visualization tools munities they serve. Whereas the old way was to design, and methodologies throughout the entire life cycle of the pro- announce, and then defend a project, which led to poor rela- posed Kennedy Center Access Project (17). The intent was tions between DOTs and the public, the new way is to provide to generate a detailed costbenefit analysis on the impacts of context-sensitive design (CSD) solutions that consider the visualization on the project. The study was not conducted impact of highways on the environment and communities (16). owing to the cancellation of funding. Visual tools have become part of the CSD process by The perception of visualization by senior-level managers, enhancing the communication between DOTs and the public decision makers, and project managers will need to change through the use of the Internet and other mass communication to further integrate visualization into the design process. mechanisms. For example, designers have created project Many of the interviewees for this synthesis expressed a need websites, such as the Caltrans website for the Devil's Slide for a visualization outreach/educational program directed project. In time, all DOTs may seek to enhance their CSD solu- toward these professionals. tions through the use of 3-D CADD. By using CSD techniques to improve the design and implementation process, DOTs are reaching out to community leaders and concerned citizens. UNDERSTANDING VISUALIZATION TECHNOLOGY COSTBENEFIT ANALYSIS Visualization Decision Maker Because planners and designers need to see data to support Another reason why visualization has not been integrated the use of visualization, a detailed costbenefit analysis into the design process is because most designers do not