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37 CHAPTER SIX CONCLUSIONS OPPORTUNITIES TO ADVANCE VISUALIZATION Identify the types of data that need to be collected IN TRANSPORTATION to document the costs and benefits associated with using visualization in the project development As at the time of NCHRP Synthesis 229, there are now a num- environment. One approach is to begin with the ber of opportunities (new and underway) that, if more effec- development of an agreed on "work breakdown struc- tively taken, can provide considerable insight to improving ture" that could be used across different project appli- the comfort levels of departments of transportation (DOTs) cations. The work breakdown structure can be a basis with visualization. These opportunities allow for an orches- for a database from which practitioners can derive trated approach throughout the transportation community: information on relative levels of effort, costs, and so forth. Fill the gaps in knowledge and practice. The TRB Task Force on Visualization in Transportation (ABJ95T) Define the functional requirements for visualization has developed a comprehensive "Working Research tools that can significantly increase user friendli- Agenda" that identifies the gaps in knowledge and prac- ness. Such functional requirements might be used to tice relating to the findings of this synthesis. A current prompt the industry to respond to practitioner needs in copy of this research agenda has been provided as part of the development of new capabilities and the refinement this synthesis and may be found in Appendix A. of existing capabilities. Create technology transfer initiatives to exploit Develop an expert system that can aid the user in technology advances from areas outside trans- identifying and selecting visualization options. The portation. Discussed in the previously noted research system should convey the benefits of each option based agenda, a more comprehensive effort to this effect on project-specific applications and needs. would prompt a more effective transfer of technolo- gies, and possibly spur the development of new tech- nologies, for the highway project development ADDITIONAL FINDINGS process. There are new and strong interests in highway construction for Develop the means to introduce visualization to the leveraging 3-D models to enable electronic machine control engineering curriculum at all levels. Visualization and stakeout processes. The challenge has been that these should be incorporated into all levels of engineering models need to be created first, and not every DOT is equipped training, from undergraduate to graduate, from bench- to deliver them. New developments in CADD software are level engineer to project and program manager, and looking to make the delivery of those 3-D models much eas- ultimately to the highest levels of the profession. There ier, however the uses of visualization throughout the project are a number of professional activities to improve the design process remain largely nonintegrated. Integration of educational process through visual learning environ- visualization uses throughout the project design process would ments. Particular attention is being given to the science support readily available models for contractors. and engineering communities. Some of the resources to support these improvements are: There is a growing interest to rethink the design process and to make design more interactive in a way that is project- The National Science Foundation, specific. One of the most effective ways of doing this is The Learning Foundation, through the use of immersive and semi-immersive simulators. The Association for Computing Machinery SIG- For years, the effectiveness of this approach has been demon- GRAPH Education Committee's Visual Learning strated in the defense, aerospace, and automotive industries. for Scientists and Engineers (available online at, and The FHWA's International Technology Exchange The Gordon Research Conference on Visualization Program recently published its findings of a safety scan, in Science and Education. Roadway Human Factors and Behavioral Safety in Europe