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Transportation Engineering

Horizontal Alignment Design

August 2012
Horizontal Alignment
Alignment is a 3D problem broken
down into two 2D problems
Horizontal Alignment (plan view)
Vertical Alignment (profile view)
Along horizontal alignment
12+00 = 1,200 ft.
Design Elements

Horizontal curve
Superelevation (IRC & AASHTO
approach for design)
Type and length of transition curve
Extra widening
Set-back distance
Horizontal Alignment

 Geometry of directional transition to
 Primary challenge
 Transition between two directions
 Horizontal curves
Horizontal Alignment

 Important for safety

 Short curves for small deflection angle (kinks)
should be avoided
 Curve in same direction separated by short
tangents (broken back) should be avoided and
replaced by a large single curve
 Sharp curves should not be introduced at the end
of long tangents
 Compound curve should be avoided. When
unavoidable limiting value of ratio of flatter curve
radius and sharper curve radius is 1.5:1 (IRC)
Notation for circular Curve

Point of intersection
(PI)/ Vertex

T1FT2: Length of
Tangents curve
T1T2: long chord

Point of

Point of Curve
Horizontal Curve Fundamentals

T = R tan L
2 PC /2 PT

L= R
180 R R

/2 /2
Horizontal Curve Fundamentals
PC /2 PT

E = R 1
cos 2 R R

/2 /2

M = R1 cos
Stopping Sight Distance

SSD = Rv s
180(SSD ) Ms
s =
90SSD Obstruction
M s = Rv 1 cos
Rv Rv

Rv Rv M s
SSD = cos s
90 Rv
Centrifugal force

level road at constant speed. - not feeling any forces that push
or pull you one way or the other (except for gravity,which keeps
you in your seat)

curves to the left- driver follows the curved road while

maintaining constant speed.
- a force that pulls you to the right (i.e., toward the outside of
the curve). That is the centrifugal force
-The door pushes back and prevents you from falling out
Horizontal Alignment

Centrifugal force: w v2/gR

w v2/gR

Three forces act on the body w
Based on relative magnitude of these forces and
dimensions of vehicle- sliding/overturning occurs
overturning sliding
Overturning moment = P * h and Restoring moment = W * b/2 For equilibrium
P = FA + FB
For equilibrium, Ph = Wb/2 P/W = b/2h 2h = f (RA + RB )
W p + F f = Fcp

F cn
F cp, W p
Fc (centrifugal force)
) e
W Wn (W 1 ft


WV 2 WV 2
W sin + f s W cos + sin = cos
gRv gRv

WV 2 WV 2
W sin + f s W cos + sin = cos
gRv gRv
tan + f s = (1 f s tan )
e + fs = (1 f s e)
Rv =
g ( f s + e)
Selection of e and fs

 Practical limits on superelevation (e)



 Adjacent land use

 Frequency of slow moving vehicles

 Side friction factor (fs) variations

 Vehicle speed

 Pavement texture

 Tire condition
Superelevation Design- Indian Approach
Maximum and Minimum superelevation
Maximum allowable superelevation
7 % for plain and rolling terrain
10 % for mountainous terrain not bound by snow

Minimum superelevation
If calculated superelevation is equal or less than camber, then
minimum superelevationequal to camber should be provided from
drainage consideration
Superelevation Design- Indian Approach

Superelevation-fully counteract the centrifugal

force or to counteract a fixed proportion of
centrifugal force
In the former case, the superelevation needed
would be more than 7 percent on sharp curves
causing inconvenience to slow moving vehicles
When a vehicle negotiates a flat curve, friction
would not be developed to the maximum this is
not a balance design
Superelevation Design- Indian Approach

desirable that the superelevation should be such

that a moderate amount of friction is developed
while negotiating flat curves and friction not
exceeding the maximum allowable value be
developed at sharp curves
Indian practice Superelevation should
counteract centrifugal force developed by 3/4th of
design speed
e = (0.75V)2/127R = V2/225R
Superelevation- AASHTO

Depends on Four Factors

 Climate condition (frequency & amount of snow and ice)
 Terrain condition (flat, rolling, mountainous)
 Type of area (urban, rural)
 Frequency of slow moving vehicles (affect high e)
No single emax is universally applicable
Desirable to use one emax (uniformity) within a region and similar
climate for design consistency
Superelevation- AASHTO

 12 %: Practical maximum value where snow and ice do not exist

 10 %: Highest superelevation rate for highways in common use
(above 8% only in areas without snow and ice)
 8 %: Reasonable max value for low volume gravel surfaced roads
also max practical limit where snow and ice are factors
 4-6 %: where traffic congestion and extensive marginal
development acts to restrict top speeds
Distribution of e and f
(As per AASHTO)
Distribution of e and f

5 methods
I: e and f are directly proportional to 1/R

II: f first reaches the maximum value then e

starts increasing ( e, f inversely proportional to R)

III: e first reaches the maximum value then f

starts increasing

IV: Same as method 3 but this is based on

average running speed instead of design speed

V: e and f are in a curvilinear relation with

1/R (values: 1- 3)
Friction Factor

Depends on a number factors

Speed of vehicle
The type and condition of the roadway surface
The type and condition of the vehicle tires.
IRC: 0.15 constant design value
Attainment of superelevation

Split-up into two parts:

Elimination of crown of the cambered section

Rotation of pavement to attain full superelevation
Attainment of superelevation

Elimination of crown of the cambered section

1st Method: Outer edge rotated about the crown
Small length of road cross slope less than camber
Drainage problem in outer half
Attainment of superelevation

2nd Method: Crown shifted outwards

Large negative superelevation on outer half
Drivers have the tendency to run the vehicle along shifted crown
Attainment of superelevation

Rotation of pavement to attain full superelevation

1st Method: Rotation about the C/L (depressing the inner edge and
raising the outer edge each by half the total amount of superelevation)

Earthwork is balanced
Vertical profile of the C/L remains unchanged
Drainage problem: depressing the inner edge
below the general level
Attainment of superelevation

2nd Method: Rotation about the Inner edge (raising both the centre as
well as outer edge outer edge is raised by the total amount of

No drainage problem
Additional earth filling
C/L of the pavement is also raised (vertical alignment
of the road is changed)
Supplementary material

 Superelevation Transition

 Tangent runout

 Spiral curves
 Extra width for curves
Superelevation Transition

from the 2001 Caltrans Highway Design Manual

Superelevation Transition

from AASHTOs A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets 2001