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Interactive computer experiments in virtual reality: issues and prospects

By Amy Tan, Harry Timmermans and Bauke de Vries


We discuss here on how to employ virtual reality in setting up interactive computer experiments as a means to probe the attitudes, motivations, reasoning and principles underlying travel decision-making. Modeling travel patterns has remained a difficult problem in urban planning recently made even more complex by transportation modelers ’ attempts to incorporate aspects of human decision making in a traffic demand forecast methodology. There is a need for experimental methods to elicit and not to simply hold constant many factors related to decisions. The importance of choice as processes rather than an event implies the need for tracking, gaming-simulation, and experimentation. Virtual reality promises greater possibilities of achieving these objectives. However, a corresponding added dimension of difficulty is added to the design of this relatively new approach of interactive experiments in transport research. As the emphasis is on the internal psychological processes that people utilize to anticipate or rehearse what will eventually be their behavior in moving through an environment, we are basing our design of the human memory prosthesis on research findings and insights derived from studies about how humans behave in the recall of everyday activities. Issues of designing a practical virtual reality system and prospects of more in-depth investigation of respondents’ behavior in the new medium will be expanded

Year: 2001
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