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Virtual Road Safety Audits: Recommended Procedures for Using Driving Simulation and Technology to Expand Existing Practices
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    One approach that has been proposed to address the limitations of the current reactive safetymonitoring approaches is the use of road safety audits (RSAs). As part of an RSA, the existing or expected characteristics and traffic conditions of a location are evaluated using multiple points of view to identify what could be the factors causing the safety issues identified. The potentially proactive nature of the RSA approach is the ability to conduct an RSA regardless of sufficient crash history at a location. The goal of the RSA process is to obtain better insights into the behaviors that drivers exhibit (or could exhibit) at a location. Unfortunately, there is a limited amount of information that can be obtained through field visits or assumed by analyzing the design documents of a proposed project. If the geometry and operational characteristics of an existing or proposed design are converted into a virtual scenario, an experiment can be conducted to obtain detailed driver behavior measurements that can be used to characterize potential safety problems and identify the corresponding solutions. This idea is known as a Virtual Road Safety Audit (VRSA). A VRSA allows engineers to focus on understanding specific driver behaviors in a controlled laboratory environment. VRSAs can be conducted with different levels of fidelity, ranging from a full-scale driving simulator experiment to a dynamic survey that simulates driving scenarios. This report summarizes steps followed in the selection of a signalized intersection for a VRSA and steps involved in the creation of a virtual scenario required for a VRSA. An alternative approach to the identification of candidate intersections, based on objective measurements, is introduced to address the limitations of relying on feedback from users to identify potentially unsafe locations within the transportation network.

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