High-Quality Simulation for Maintenance and Transit Operator Training

The Human Factors Research Group at the Mississippi State University Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems has conducted an in-depth investigation into the use of high-quality simulations and/or virtual training for the training of transit and maintenance (mowing) operators as a possible solution to several MDOT safety and efficiency concerns. This report compiles the information and findings of this project in order to (1) provide a clear definition of the problem space with respect to MDOT’s training needs, (2) provide an understanding of the requirements for simulators that would meet these needs, (3) provide an overview of the current state of the art of simulation and virtual reality technologies relevant to the specific needs of MDOT, and (4) make recommendations for the implementation of simulators to achieve MDOT’s training goals. Six governing tasks were accomplished during the scope of this investigation: (1) A literature review was conducted specific to the use of simulators for safety and efficiency training, with special attention to use within transit and maintenance operations. (2) A review of simulation use by other state DOTs was conducted. (3) A review was conducted regarding the use of simulation and virtual technologies for training vehicle operators in other industries. (4) A set of requirements were developed for a transit simulator and a tractor simulator. (5) Discussions with potential simulator vendors were conducted to understand the state of the art regarding simulator and virtual technologies, as well as vendor capabilities. (6) Project management tasks included deliverables and progress meetings. Based on the findings of this study, recommendations are provided regarding MDOT’s potential acquisition of simulators for transit and maintenance operator training.