As a transportation and technology laboratory, the CATTLab is interested in all things highway. For a summer, I worked on a project involving real-time 3-d visualization of traffic conditions on major roads in Washington, DC.
Using GIS data, realtime traffic and weather updates, OpenGL, and other modelling techniques (3ds Max, Blender), this project aimed to provide a scalable, interactive, intuitive, and very visual traffic analyzation/simulation tool. Some emphasis was put on "scalable" since our project was meant to be deployed anywhere, not just in the DC area. Types of data to be visualized included landmarks, terrain, buildings, traffic signs/lights, accidents, traffic volume, traffic stoppages, lane and road closures, agencies (fire/medical/police/etc) responding to a call, time of day, and weather.
The majority of my programming time on this project was spent implementing time of day, weather (taken from realtime NOAA updates), proper automatic lane changing of cars, and traffic density along roads. Below is a screenshot of the software in action.
This screenshot shows the type of accident, cars involved, agencies responding to the scene, time of day, weather, and which lanes are blocked on the highway. Click for full resolution.
Since I left employment at the CATTLab, this system has gone live in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and all of Washington, DC.
Here is a link to the CATTLab maintained page for this research: link.