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Plenary Lecture

Scientific Visualization for 3-Dimensional Geometric
Design of Highways

Associate Professor Manoj K. Jha
Center for Advanced Transportation and Infrastructure Engineering Research
Department of Civil Engineering
Morgan State University
1700 East Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21251

Abstract: Scientific visualization is an interdisciplinary branch of science primarily concerned with the visualization of three dimensional (3D) phenomena (engineering, architectural, meteorological, medical, biological, etc.), where the emphasis is on realistic renderings of volumes, surfaces, illumination sources, and so forth, perhaps with a dynamic (time) component. In this presentation we demonstrate the application of scientific visualization for 3D geometric design of highways. Typically, roads are designed by combining horizontal and vertical roadway alignments, to allow for adequate sight distance for driver comfort and safety. The traditional process of checking for adequate sight distance ahead of a driver is manual as it is performed by a manual check along the horizontal and vertical roadway alignments. Further, conventional horizontal and vertical alignment design follow a sequential process, i.e., design of horizontal and vertical alignments is carried out in separate stages; typically horizontal alignment is obtained first and a vertical alignment is subsequently fitted which may lead to inaccurate sight distances along the roadway. For example, a section of a road with a vertical crest curve and a sharp horizontal curve together will lead to an illusion of the availability of a larger sight distance when driving. With the proposed visualization methodology the sight distance is calculated using a 3-dimensional (3D) road surface, a solid cone, and a rectangular plane. The 3D cone with its vertex at a height h' from the road surface and line of height parallel to the tangent of the road centreline is moved along the roadway at regular intervals. The intersection of the road surface with the cone is used to obtain the intersected surface. The variation of the tangents along the intersected surface is used to obtain the profile of the intersected road surface centreline. A variable rectangular plane is used over the intersected road surface to calculate the sight distance. Given the 3D road centreline, a visualization-based method is described to establish the road surface. Mathematical formulations to calculate the 3D surface and sight distance are presented and the method is applied in an example study. The presentation concludes with the discussion of the application of the proposed visualization method for full-scale efficient roadway sight distance measurement as well as directions for future research.

Brief Biography of the Speaker:
Dr. Manoj K. Jha is Associate Professor and Founding Director of the Center for Advanced Transportation and Infrastructure Engineering Research (CATIER) in the department of civil engineering at the Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD, USA. He obtained a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with transportation specialization from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2000; a M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Old Dominion University in 1993; and a B.E. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Durgapur, India in 1991. He also attended the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute during 1993-94 as a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering and Virginia Tech.'s National Capital campus as a post doctoral fellow during 2000-2001.
Dr. Jha's research interests are in investigating mathematic foundation of artificial intelligence-based optimization algorithms, and highway route optimization and visualization. For his scholastic and research achievements Dr. Jha has received several awards, among which are the 2007 National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Technology Transfer Research (STTR) award; 2005 and 2006 United Negro College Funds Special Program/Department of Defense (UNCFSP/DoD) Faculty Development Award; 2005 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Summer Faculty Research award by the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) Center of Excellence, University of Maryland, College Park, and 2005 NSF-PASI-TS (National Science Foundation's Pan-American Advanced Study Institute on Transportation Sciences) award by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Maryland since 1997.
Dr. Jha has served as a PI, Co-PI, or collaborator with other researchers on numerous research project totaling over $4 million. The key sponsoring agencies of his research projects include Army Research Lab., Maryland State Highway Administration, Federal Highway Administration, National Science Foundation, and several Baltimore area consulting firms. Dr. Jha has authored (or co-authored) more than 90 articles in journals, books, and conference proceedings in the highway design, optimization, and transportation literature. He has also co-authored 2 books on road design entitled "Intelligent Road Design" and "Fundamentals of Road Design."

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