Development of a Virtual Road Safety Audit Methodology

Primary Project Objectives

This research focuses on the establishment, and implementation, of a framework for conducting virtual road safety audits (VRSA) using driving simulators. Driving simulators have been growing in popularity over the past years. As these research tools become widespread available throughout the country and the world an opportunity is presented to introduce the technology into the road design process as opposed to only using the technology for pure research purposes. Introduction into the design process does not mean using driving simulators for visualization purposes; instead, is the use of driving simulator to perform what is described as a virtual road safety audit. A virtual road safety audit involves the evaluation of a design by exposing real users to the design using a driving simulator and obtaining performance measures that reflect how different elements of the design support the driving tasks. The methodology have been used by the research team not only for the evaluation of proposed interchanges designs but also for the evaluation of safety treatments on highways.