In 2012, the United States Congress passed the H.R. Bill 4348 “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century”, and subsequently signed in to law as part of Title 23 of the United States Code (USC), (2012) by President Obama, also recognized as MAP-21, allocates $105 Billion over 2 years for the continued improvement of the Nation’s transportation system. In addition to continuing its requirements for Visualization set forth in the previous Reauthorization of 2005, MAP-21 incorporates two critical elements that set the stage for advancing the use of Driving Simulation in Geometric Highway Design: 1) Performance Management (refocusing Federal transportation funds towards national transportation Goals - i.e. reducing crashes & congestion, system reliability, etc.), and 2) Advanced Modeling Technology. Since safety continues to be a leading goal of our nation’s transportation efforts and constitutes a critical measure of Performance, the industry stands to gain notable returns by integrating Driving Simulation with Geometric Highway Design. Additionally, Section 1502 of MAP-21 calls for the “Use of Advanced Modeling Technologies” to include 3-dimensional digital modeling that can be used (in part) to “increase safety”. To date, most 3D modeling in transportation agencies has been used either for Visualization applications in Public Involvement, or improving efficiencies in Construction. Recent advancements in highway design software now make it easier for engineers to generate 3D models, increasing the availability of 3D project design data for use in driving simulators for project-specific safety evaluations. Finally, MAP-21 provides the opportunity to use driving simulation and human factors as an integral part of Public Participation. So the same data used for simulators in roadway design can be applied in meetings with public stakeholders improving decision efficiencies and public confidence throughout the project development process. There are already examples of this in the United States (FORUM8 (2009)). This paper will explain the convergence of recent Policy, Technology, Processes, and Best Practices that are shaping the direct use of driving simulation within roadway design, discuss barriers to progress, and offer a framework for applied research activities to make this standard practice for optimizing safety during roadway design.
Keywords: map-21; simulation; 3D modeling; visualization