• Washington State Department of Transportation

    Use of 3D Immersive Visualizations

    Olympia, Washington, United States

Project Summary


The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Visual Engineering Resource Group (VERG) uses Bentley’s 3D immersive visualization software, LumenRT, to create images, videos, and real-time presentations for use in such diverse applications as design reviews, courtroom legal support, and cultural resource documentation. VERG has gained national recognition for producing visual communications that explain complicated stories to a mass audience in a compelling and engaging way.


VERG routinely provides still and animated visualizations of proposed roadway intersection improvements, most notably in roundabout designs. Generated in LumenRT, a LiveCube real-time immersive experience illustrates the benefits of a roundabout versus a signalized intersection, helping stakeholders and the public understand the need for a specific design. For courtroom presentations of WSDOT projects, VERG uses LumenRT to produce compelling 3D environments that accurately reflect the engineering designs—in real time or as video fly-throughs.


Whether in a public meeting or courtroom, LumenRT LiveCubes allow viewers to move around in real-time 3D environments to experience the designs in the context of their surroundings. Accurate details such as critical views, measured distances, and right-of-way and access issues are readily apparent. From a position of better understanding, stakeholders are more likely to approve a project. VERG’s visualizations also document cultural resources throughout the state, contributing to their preservation.


WSDOT has standardized on Bentley software as its primary CAD technology. The LumenRT/MicroStation relationship was the main driver in VERG’s adoption of the software. Used in conjunction with MicroStation’s other 3D modeling applications, LumenRT enables seamless workflows to bring to life 3D design models of buildings, bridges, intersection/interchanges, and historic structures under WSDOT’s purview. The ability to create LiveCubes for rapid production of animations and still images saves VERG considerable time.
  • 3D real-time visualizations provide a richer understanding of design intent and reveal conflicts among disciplines, between utilities, or within right-of-ways, saving time and money in the process.
  • Having a visual “voice” improves engagement with stakeholders and the public, and enhances transparency and trust.
  • Visual communication of designs is a strongly recommended practice advocated by the federal government for all DOTs.
  • “LumenRT is our communication tool of choice. It lets us easily produce professional videos and interactive experiences that empower the audience and provide in-depth understanding of our projects.”

    Kurt Stiles Project Manager, Visual Engineering Resource Group Washington State Department of Transportation