Visualization's Next Frontier

Increasingly, engineers can synthesize two-dimensional data into various types of three-dimensional (3-D) and dynamic (animated or real-time simulation) four-dimensional models, renderings, animations, and simulations. Advances in personal computing and development of computer-aided design and drafting have helped put a new approach--design visualization--directly into the hands of highway designers. For years, transportation practitioners have used 3-D computerized renderings and animation to convey conceptual designs to decision makers, stakeholders, and communities during the public involvement phase of transportation projects. But now agencies are pushing design visualization to the next level, taking it beyond public involvement and integrating it into the entire project development process, from early conceptualization to final design and even actual construction. This article provides an overview of design visualization. Available technologies are highlighted, as well as benefits and challenges associated with applying design visualization. Early adopters of the 3-D modeling and visualization approach are leading the design and construction industry by demonstrating cost savings and enhanced quality. Taking visualization to the next level will require the transportation industry to establish national standards with guidelines for its application, design analysis, budgeting, training, and staffing. Additional research should quantify visualization's cost and benefits and should determine how it helps the designer and, ultimately, end users.


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  • Accession Number: 01150828
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 8 2010 11:13AM