Design Visualization (DV) technology enables engineers to depict how facilities like bridges, roadways, sidewalks, and buildings will look after they are completed. The DV images can be displayed on computer screens or in large, high-resolution color photographs. To do this, the engineers match a photograph of the construction location with a three-dimensional (3-D) computer-generated model of the proposed design. What emerges is a composite view of the proposed highway facility superimposed on the photograph of the construction location. In addition to still pictures, 3-D animation software makes DV video simulations possible as well.
DV can be used for any aspect of roadway design, including construction of new bridges and roadways and modification of those facilities. Although the processes used in DV have been available for some time, the technology has become more widespread in recent years thanks to rapid advances and falling costs in computer technology. Today, with high-end graphics workstations and software available at reasonable costs, photo-simulations and 3D renderings can be produced quickly and with high accuracy.
DV technology not only helps engineers during their planning process, but also it serves as an effective way to clearly communicate design implications to non-engineers. Thanks to this technology, highway engineers are now able to take their composite drawings to public meetings and present them to non-engineers with ease.