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University of Michigan School of Information


Virtual Reality Traffic Simulation

Traffic simulation can be used as an effective tool to investigate mobility solutions and traffic scenarios in a city. For example, how an event or change in driving conditions at a location affects the city’s network traffic profile. Combining traffic simulation with immersive virtual reality (VR) headset can result in a tool that enables unique user experiences, angle of view, insights and bi-directional interaction with the traffic simulator. This project will combine the power of traffic simulation, gaming engine, real data and virtual reality technology to deliver an immersive VR visualization and interaction tool for traffic simulation that utilizes real traffic and weather data.

The traffic simulation will include multiple types of road users, such as passenger vehicles, trucks and pedestrians. A number of traffic scenarios will be defined and implemented in the traffic simulation. A typical traffic scenario involves interruption of continuous traffic flow (e.g., activate mid-block pedestrian crossing) or change of the current road condition (e.g., traffic accident or work zone that blocks vehicle lane).  The traffic data not only include road user information but also infrastructure information (e.g. traffic signal status, dynamic messages signs). Based on the simulation resolution and network size, how to ensure real-time data transmission and synchronization of the two systems is a challenge.

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The amount of the award is $99,725 for UMSI for the project period. The grant is funded by the Ford Motor Company.