Chapter 33: The Importance of Proper Roadway Design in Virtual Environments
Handbook of Driving Simulation for Engineering, Medicine, and Psychology
The Importance of Proper Roadway Design in Virtual Environments
Douglas F. Evans, DriveSafety, Inc.
The Problem. An important factor in the usefulness of any given driving simulation is the fidelity of the roadway models presented in the virtual environment. The effects of a roadway’s design on vehicle performance and driver comfort and safety are dramatic on both real and simulated roads. Simulators that do not provide adequate roadway model fidelity may yield driving experiences that do not correspond well to the real world. Driving Simulators: Software Specificity and Equipment Limitations. There are practical limitations to how accurately real-world roads can be represented in a simulator. These are discussed, along with some strategies that are used to optimize simulated roadways. Driving Simulators: Increasing Fidelity. A brief history of the development of driving simulator roadway modeling tools is presented, including a discussion of four types of tools that have emerged. Finally, we discuss underlying roadway design standards. Real-world roadways are designed and constructed according to rigorous guidelines developed over decades by transportation officials and highway engineers seeking to optimize drivability, comfort, and safety. Compliance with these standards requires care by developers in at least four principal areas. These are (1) roadway classification, (2) junction design, (3) curve design, and (4) traffic control devices. Key concepts in each of these areas are presented, not in an attempt to provide a comprehensive design methodology, which is better done by rigorous extant policy and engineering texts, but only to make simulator developers and users aware of the key issues involved.
Roadway, Modeling, Realism, Standards
• The fidelity of a simulator’s roadway model effects how well the driving experience corresponds to the real world.
• There are limits to the realism of environment models in simulators.
• Several different methods and types of tools can be used to model driving environments.
• Engineering standards govern proper roadway design and should be followed in best practice for simulator model development.
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). (2004). The “Green Book”: A policy on geometric design of highways and streets (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Federal Highway Administration. (2009). Manual on uniform traffic control devices for streets and highways. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation.
Federal Highway Administration. (2010). Flexibility in highway design. Washington, DC: Department of Transportation. Retrieved February 24, 2010 from http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/flex/ch03.htm
Ogden, K. W. (1996). Safer roads: A guide to road safety engineering. Cambridge, MA: University Press.