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44 APPENDIX A Working Research Agenda of the TRB Task Force on Visualization in Transportation (ABJ95T) As of 9/12/2005 The following "working" research agenda was prepared by the Research Sub-Committee of the TRB Task Force on Visu- alization in Transportation. It represents an initial and ongoing effort to compile the knowledge and understanding of the task force members regarding the related needs in this industry, and to promote research and demonstration efforts in the support of improved and effective advancements of visualization in all modes of transportation. This Agenda was first presented publicly by Ronald G. Hughes, Ph.D., at the 2005 TRB Annual Meeting in his paper. The research agenda is provided as a part of the present synthesis not as a set of recommendations, but more so as a means of more clearly characterizing what might be/become the major research components in the area of transportation visualization. TOWARD THE DEVELOPMENT OF A RESEARCH AGENDA FOR THE APPLICATION OF VISUALIZATION IN TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM APPLICATIONS TRB PAPER NUMBER 05-0230 This agenda has since been modified and the following represents the latest in the efforts of the task force. Comments are always welcome, and the reader is encouraged to contact the task force representatives: Dr. Ronald G. Hughes, Ph.D. Co-Chair--Research Sub-Committee TRB Task Force on Visualization in Transportation E-mail: email@example.com Office: 919-515-8523 Michael A. Manore, P.E. Chair--TRB Task Force on Visualization in Transportation E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 512-413-0343 Dr. Richard Pain, Ph.D. Transportation Safety Coordinator--Staff Coordinator to the Task Force E-mail: email@example.com Office: 202-334-2964 CATEGORY ONE: ESTABLISHING A RESEARCH FOUNDATION (TOPICS 15) 1. Visualization Demonstration Project--Getting Started Technically and Organizationally as an Agency or Engineering Consultant Rationale: One of the most common statements by transportation agencies and consulting firms regarding visualization is: "We are interested but do not know how to get started." There exists a wealth of knowledge (mostly trial and error) from agencies and consulting firms alike who have successfully applied these technologies. The challenge has been the inability to compile that knowledge and experience into effective, demonstrable guidelines for any organization.
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45 Important elements to focus on should be: · Capturing the knowledge and experience from the diversity of successful organizations. · Compiling an employable set of guidelines for both transportation agencies and engineering consulting firms that addresses both the technological considerations and those that are organizational when incorporating visualization. · Organizing and performing a demonstration effort with transportation agencies and engineering consulting firms to assess the soundness of the guidelines, make appropriate adjustments, and measure the benefits. 2. Areas of Potential Technology Transfer from Aerospace and Military/DOD Applications of Visual Simulation Rationale: There is a need for helping visualization practitioners in the transportation field to see beyond the purely military aspect of visual simulation applications within the Department of Defense and to identify the relevance of key technology applications. Recognition of common technology issues and applications can provide transportation agencies seeking visualization exper- tise a greatly expanded pool of talent to draw on. Important elements to focus on should be: · Real-time image generation; · Visual database modeling hardware and software; · Distributed computing; · Networking (local and long haul); and · Visual fidelity, field of view, scene content limitations, and their effects on performances obtained in driving simulators. 3. The Development of "Guidance" for Visualization Practitioners Rationale: There is little or no published guidance for those who develop and use visualization methods and tools at the practitioner level. The need for practical guidance is both for the (software) developer as well as the project engineer. An area of particu- lar need not addressed by current guidance is the effective use of the Internet. Important elements to focus on should be: · Distinguishing between different applications and their expected value added, · Matching scope and project needs and requirements, · Determining scope of the visualization support effort, · How to ensure effective application, and · In-house versus support contractor. 4. Quantifying the Value of Visualization: For Requirements Definition, for Project Design, for Construction, and for Public Involvement Rationale: Research is needed that focuses on the benefits and costs of visualization. Research is needed that provides reliable means of collecting the true costs of visualization applications. Even more important is the need for research that documents the real as well as perceived "benefits." The need here is for effective methodology as well as data. Important elements to focus on should be: · Distinguishing user needs from design requirements, · Aligning user needs and values with project requirements, · Identifying visualization methods that facilitate developer and user focus on values, · Soliciting user input and comment in a collaborative and measurable environment, · Quantitative methods for tracking the development of consensus, and · Visualization applications to constructability and construction phasing.
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46 5. Exploring the Potential for Web-Based Applications of Visualization: System Requirements, Technical Challenges, User Interface Issues, etc. Rationale: The Internet is rapidly becoming a chief media source from which individuals seek to acquire information about their world surpassing in many instances radio and television and the printed media. Government agencies that use the Internet to communicate with stakeholders need to clearly understand the technology and its effective use. Effective use is becoming characterized as increasingly interactive. On-line applications are also becoming more prominent as means of facilitating collaboration between those involved in the design process. Important elements to focus on should be: · Identifying models of successful and effective application, · Understanding and overcoming bandwidth obstacles, · Incorporating on-line user feedback and comment, · Fostering the collaborative nature of successful project development, and · Understanding and addressing equity issues. CATEGORY TWO: MANAGEMENT-ORIENTED ISSUES (TOPICS 69) 6. Facilitating the Adoption of Visualization at the State DOT Level: Lessons Learned and Guidance Rationale: There remains an outstanding need on the part of practitioners at the state DOT to understand the manpower/personnel, logistics, and organizational factors associated with the acquisition and maintenance of an effective in-house visualization capability. Important elements to focus on should be: · Lessons learned on getting started (i.e., staff, hardware and software, facilities, effective organization structure, etc.). · Integrating visualization into the normal day-to-day work process. · The importance of a strategic plan for the integration of all aspects of using and managing spatial data tools and resources. · How to estimate the acquisition and maintenance costs associated with a commitment to visualization. 7. The Definition of Education, Training, and Outreach Requirements Rationale: Manpower and personnel challenges associated with the acquisition and maintenance of an effective visualization work- force can surpass those associated with hardware and software acquisition and integration issues. Important elements to focus on should be: · In the undergraduate and graduate engineering curricula, · For the computer graphics practitioner, · For management. 8. Toward the Development of Visualization "Standards": Source Data, Interoperability, Applications, Fidelity, Accuracy, Ethics, etc. Rationale: Interoperability of operations for those involved in the use of spatial data will require a shared understanding of the attri- butes of that data. The use of metadata will become critical to ensuring a common level of understanding about the data, its method of collection, the conditions under which the data are being displayed, and limitations on inferences that can be drawn from the data.
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47 Important elements to focus on should be: · Recommended system architectures for ensuring interoperability between different sources of spatial data (e.g., photo- grammetry, GIS, GPS, CAD, etc.). · Ethical standards for acceptable representation of proposed design and system operation. · The role of metadata in visualization. 9. Using Visualization for the Discovery of New System Concepts in Transportation Rationale: New solutions are often dependent on being able to "see" the problem from a different perspective and/or to see solutions that transcend current practice. Visualization may serve not only to see what a final product may look like, but to facilitate improved understanding of the design and engineering principles or processes that make such a product possible. Important elements to focus on should be: · Using visualization to think/plan "outside-the-box." · Exploring innovative, sometimes unconventional concepts and system approaches. · Keeping exploration closely linked to system effectiveness. · Using modeling and simulation to explore the range of potential system applications independently of current feasibil- ity/cost limitations. CATEGORY THREE: THE INTEGRATION OF MODELING AND SIMULATION (TOPICS 1014) 10. The Visualization of How Things Work Versus How Things Look Rationale: Transportation is a dynamic concept defined in large part by its effectiveness (i.e., how a facility "works"). The visualiza- tion of process (to include an accurate simulation of its working elements) represents significant technical challenges both from a hardware as well as a computing sense. Research in this area needs to focus on how one achieved functional or oper- ational fidelity in addition to necessary visual fidelity. Important elements to focus on should be: · Representing system operation, · Representing the interaction between manned and unmanned elements, · Understanding visual fidelity and functional fidelity tradeoffs, and · Matching application fidelity to project and user needs. 11. Overcoming Obstacles to the Effective Integration of Modeling and Visual Simulation Rationale: Research is needed that distinguishes between database generation and the modeling of physical structures and model- ing/simulation that focuses on representation of the dynamic nature of the operation of those elements. Important elements to focus on should be: · Real-time computing challenges, · Representing the probabilistic nature of user performance(s), · Modeling critical interactions between elements, · Image generation and display system limitations on the real-time representation of the operational traffic environment, and · Real versus simulated elements.
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48 12. Simulation and Modeling Issues in the Visual Representation of Non-Motorized Traffic (e.g., pedestrians) Rationale: Our ability to model (i.e., mathematically represent) the performance attributes of non-motorized traffic elements (i.e., pedestrians) and their interaction with motorized elements is in its infancy. There is both a need for data and for its effective integration within existing models and simulations intended principally for the representation of vehicular traffic. Important elements to focus on should be: · Identifying the key attributes and performance characteristics of pedestrians with and without various impairments, bicy- clists, etc. · Information for the effective modeling of interactions between motorized and non-motorized elements (e.g., factors affecting driver yielding performance, factors affecting pedestrian and vehicle gap selection attributes, etc.). 13. Fidelity and Data Accuracy Issues in the Use of Visualization with Respect to Their Effects on Human Performance Rationale: There is a need for behavioral research focused on the performance effects associated with our present inability to com- pletely represent all aspects of the visual environment and the means by which they control human performance. Important elements to focus on should be: · Understanding visual fidelity limitations (resolution, field of view, scene content, etc.) and their effect(s) on "human-in- the-loop" performance outcomes. · Understanding the effects of force and motion cueing limitations associated with the use of manned simulation for han- dling quality evaluations. · Understanding the stochastic and statistical nature of human performance. 14. Understanding the Practicable Uses for Desktop and Immersive Driving Simulators Rationale: The advancements in simulator technologies can provide environments where highway engineers may perform human behavior and safety performance assessments of both final design alternatives and work zone layouts as part of any project. With 3-D geometry captured as part of the design process, and operational performance assessed as part of new visual-centric traffic modeling technologies, immersive and desktop driving simulators would provide project teams with the most compre- hensive understanding of the human's perspective of their projects without actually building them. Important elements to focus on should be: · Understanding the practical applications of these simulator technologies in both agency and consultant-based environ- ments by synthesizing and assessing "lessons-learned" in the defense and aerospace industries. · Understanding the interoperability of the data and systems that will need to be combined (3-D geometry, simulated traf- fic, human-in-the-loop) while building on the fidelity and data accuracy findings captured as part of Problem Statement 13 above. · Demonstrating the do-ability of applying such technologies, and measuring the actual benefits to the engineering team, the community, and the end-user. CATEGORY FOUR: UNDERSTANDING THE SOCIALPSYCHOLOGICAL AND COGNITIVE ELEMENT (TOPICS 1517) 15. Assessing User Needs and Values Rationale: Research in this area should be thought of as providing both the scientific and practical foundation for the means by which the potential "developer" is able to acquire a design-oriented understanding of basic user needs and values. While conceptu-
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