Virtual reality as a new tool for transport data collection




means of transport, passenger safety, user behaviou, transport studies, virtual reality


Transport studies that adopt complex analyses present methodological challenges that lead to the use of innovative techniques to address the limitations of traditional methods. In the Latin American context, people consider security as a relevant variable in their daily lives. Thus, when people travel around the city and choose a mode of transport, security becomes an important factor and should therefore be included in transport studies. However, the definition of security in terms of transport in the Colombian context remains unclear. Therefore, we examined the security perception effect on transport mode choice by addressing security as a latent variable consisting of three elements: environment, subject and transport mode. We proposed the use of virtual reality (VR) to recreate travel routes and offer participants a scenario of choice closer to the natural conditions of a trip. The participants were provided routes in the form of immersive 3D videos recreating natural trip conditions to identify their choices and travel behaviour. Recordings were made of daily scenarios and existing urban environments portraying real and active modes of transport, giving respondents an almost-natural experience. The use of 360-degree immersive videos offers a multisensory experience allowing both the capture of socioeconomic and travel information and the collection of journey perception. The experiment evaluated two environments in Medellín, Colombia (secure (E1) and insecure (E2)) and studied the effects of lighting conditions (day (D) and night (N)). A total of four videos (E1D, E1N, E2D and E2N) depicting six transport modes in tandem were assessed by 92 participants from Medellín and Bogotá, Colombia. We found that environment-associated security perception varies depending on the time of the journey (day/night) and one’s familiarity with the environment. The research results position VR as a tool that offers high potential to support transport studies. We found that people’s movements, gestures and expressions while participating in the VR experiments resembled what was expected from journeys in reality. VR constitutes a relevant tool for transport studies, as it allows for an assessment of active transport mode perceptions. It prevents participants from being exposed to the risk associated with travel to specific places and carries out several routes in different transport modes even when participants cannot or have never undertaken journeys in the modes under assessment.


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Original articles

How to Cite

Agudelo-Vélez, A., Sarmiento-Ordosgoitia, I., & Córdoba-Maquilón, J. (2021). Virtual reality as a new tool for transport data collection. Archives of Transport, 60(4), 23-38.


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