The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) plans to reconstruct and expand approximately 14 miles of US 41 in Brown County from Orange Lane on the south to County M (Lineville Road) on the north. Freeway reconstruction in Brown County will include the addition of travel lanes and the reconstruction of nine interchanges.
The US 41 Project includes the construction of 44 roundabouts, including 16 in Winnebago County and 28 in Brown County. Roundabouts will be constructed where the interchange exit and entrance ramps intersect with the local roadway and at nearby frontage road intersections.
WisDOT is currently in the design phase and public education for the US 41 corridor in Brown County. Early construction activities in Brown County have already begun this year, but the major construction activities are planned to begin in 2010 and be completed in 2016. (View the US 41 project page)
Educating the public about how to properly drive through a roundabout is a priority for WisDOT. To learn more about roundabouts and have the public ready to drive and walk at roundabouts, WisDOT asked Ourston Roundabout Engineering to develop a driving simulator to train drivers on the correct use of roundabouts.
Educational videos and information materials have always been available, but a driver how-to has never been prepared using a VR model of a roundabout, at least not in the United States. The goal of the project was to provide several methods of illustrating correct operation in a roundabout, especially lane choice on the approaches. Ourston developed views above the interchange and drivers’ view and driver training simulations to help educate drivers.
To develop driver-how videos, scripts of flight paths were utilized to create AVI videos. These videos were then edited to create the driver educational materials. The scripts that were used to create the educational videos were "WB Mason to USH 41 SB on Ramp" and "SB USH 41 Off Ramp Left." The "Mason Street Overview" and "Interchange Overview" scripts were used to provide the public an overall view of the roundabout interchange.
Another feature of the program that was used to educate the public on driving through roundabouts was the "Drive on Road" feature. Three monitors were set up along with a steering wheel, brake, and accelerator pedals to allow drivers to simulate driving through the roundabouts. The perspective of the driver was set to above the vehicle on vehicle models "E. Sedan 1" and "E. Sedan 2" so that users were could see more of their surroundings.