Experiencing Complete Streets in Virtual Reality

Mark Yedlin
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Mark Yedlin has over 40 years of experience as a transportation professional specializing in the development and application of traffic simulation models to evaluate proposed improvements to traffic operations. He was one of the original developers of FHWA’s popular traffic simulation software, now known as CORSIM. He provided technical support and training in traffic simulation to traffic engineers across the U.S. under contract to the FHWA and was a founding member of the Intelligent Transportation Society of New York.
In an ever more complex world, it is becoming increasingly important to effectively communicate proposed solutions to decision makers and the public. Until recently, transportation engineers focused primarily on improving mobility for automobiles. Now there is a much greater emphasis on complete street designs that also recognize other users of our streets including pedestrians and bicyclists. To help our clients address these issues, GPI is using gaming and participatory simulation, 3D visualizations, and low cost virtual reality technology. Transportation agencies are enthusiastic about using this technology to visualize effects and encourage adoption of new sustainable policies, designs, and ideas. These participatory simulations provide an immersive experience, providing instant feedback from stakeholders and creating constructive dialogues between transportation agencies and their constituents. This enhanced interaction fosters cooperation and support for proposed solutions.

GPI developed a virtual reality experience of one of the busiest and highest crash prone corridors in New York City, Queens Boulevard. Participants have the opportunity to experience an enhanced Queens Boulevard, from a bicyclist, pedestrian, or car driver perspective. This allows stakeholders to immersively explore complete streets in virtual reality.