Policy Simulation Laboratory

The Policy Simulation Laboratory (SimLab) was created to apply interactive tools based on modern computer technologies to help understand the consequences of policy actions.  The SimLab is a set of networked rooms designed to work together as a flexible, integrated facility to study decision making and to help communities make informed decisions.


The future of a community is determined by choices made by a large number of individuals, businesses, and government officials.  However, it is difficult for community members to understand how today’s choices affect their future.

Policy Simulation uses visualization tools created with emerging computer technologies, like digital imagery and virtual reality to create interactive tools that depict the consequences of policy changes. For example, the town council might design a plan for managing growth in the town. Computer systems in the Policy Simulation Laboratory simulate the environmental, economic and social consequences, and create a virtual drive through town. Geographic Information Systems are used to create electronic maps. Together, these tools are used to demonstrate the consequences to the community to help them better visualize the consequences of policies and make wise choices.