Paper accepted in the upcoming Urban Rail Transit journal 2019.
Tang, M., Auffrey, C. Advanced Digital Tools for Updating Overcrowded Rail Stations: Using Eye-Tracking, Virtual Reality, and Crowd Simulation to Support Design Decision-making. Urban Rail Transit. 2019.
This paper describes an innovative integration of eye-tracking (ET) with virtual reality (VR), and details the application of these combined technologies for the adaptive reuse redesign of the Wudaokou rail station in Beijing. The objective of the research is to develop a hybrid approach, combining ET and VR technologies, as part of an experimental study of how to improve wayfinding and pedestrian movement in crowded environments such as those found in urban subway stations during peak hours. Using ET analysis, design features such as edges, and color contrast are used to evaluate several proposed rail station redesigns. Through VR and screen-based ET, visual attention and related spatial responses are tracked and analyzed for the selected redesign elements. This paper assesses the potential benefits of using ET and VR to assist identification of station design elements that will improve wayfinding and pedestrian movement, and describes how the combination of VR and ET can influence the design process. The research concludes that the combination of VR and ET offers unique advantages for modeling how the design of rail transit hub interiors can influence the visual attention and movement behavior of those using the redesigned station. This is especially true for crowded conditions in complex interior spaces. The use of integrated ET and VR technology is shown to inform innovative design approaches for facilitating improved wayfinding and pedestrian movement within redesigned rail stations.
Check out Tang’s eye-tracking research with transit hub design studio ARCH4002, Spring 2018.