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COTM 3191:

HIGHWAY
ENGINEERING I
Chair, infrastructure Design & Construction
,EIABC

cotmext@gmail.com (Assign
ment
submission address)
CHAPTER­3
GEOMETRIC DESIGN 
OF HIGHWAYS
3.1 CONCEPTS

 Alignment is a 3D problem broken down into two 2D 
problems
 Horizontal Alignment (plan view)
 Vertical Alignment (profile view)

 Stationing (Chainage)
 Chainage is simply the longitudinal distance (usually in m or 
Km) along a centerline from a start or zero point. It is a 
measuring scheme used in roads, rail, pipelines, tunnels, 
canals etc.
 Measured along horizontal alignment(usually two types)
 12+100 = 12 km & 100 m= 12,100m
 12+10 =1km & 210m= 1210m
3
HORIZONTAL ALIGNMENT(PLAN 
VIEW)

4
Addis Adama express way

Switch back
curves at
escarpment terrain

5
VERTICAL ALIGNMENT(PROFILE 
VIEW)

6
STATIONING(HORIZONTAL 
&VERTICAL ALIGNMENT)
Horizontal Alignment(directional view)

Vertical Alignment(elevation difference)

7
Examples of Drawings of Highway Projects
Plan & Profile Drawing 1

Plan & Profile Drawing 2

Typical Cross-section

8
3.2     HORIZONTAL ALIGNMENT
3.2 HORIZONTAL ALIGNMENT
 Objective: 
 Geometry of directional transition to ensure:
 Safety
 Comfort

 Primary challenge
 Transition between two directions
 Horizontal curves Δ

 Consists of 
1. Straight sections/ Tangents 
2. Circular curves
3. Transition Curves 

10
HORIZONTAL ALIGNMENT
1. Tangents 
 Usually longer in flat terrain but shorter in 
other terrain types
 Longer Tangents provide:
Positive  A better visibility
Impact  More passing opportunity
      
 Increased danger of headlight glare 
Negative  Excessive speeding & the resulting accident 
Impact
 Driver fatigue & dizziness which cause accident 

11
 According to ERA GDM, the maximum 
length  of  tangent  section  shouldn’t 
exceed 4 Km

12
HORIZONTAL ALIGNMENT
2.  Horizontal Circular Curves
2.1 Types 

13
HORIZONTAL ALIGNMENT

14
 Broken­back  (also  referred  to  as  "flat  back") 
curves  are  a  combination  of  two  curves  in  the  same 
direction with an intervening short tangent.
 Reverse  curves:  are  also  a  combination  of  two 
curves but in opposite directions with an intervening 
short tangent.
 Compound curves: curves in the same direction but 
with  different  radii,  and  without  any  intervening 
straight section. 

15
DESCRIPTIONS

Simple curve compound curve

16

Reverse curve
GUIDELINES FOR MINIMUM LENGTH OF 
THE CURVE

Minimum Horizontal Radius table for 8% Supper elevated roads(Rural)

Minimum Horizontal Radius table for 4% Supper elevated


roads(Urban )

17
RADIUS AND DEGREE CURVES

18
ELEMENTS OF SIMPLE HORIZONTAL CURVE 
FUNDAMENTALS

• Where: PI
T Δ
PC= point of curvature
E
(beginning of curve)
M Δ/2
PI= Point of Intersection
L
PC PT
PT= Point of tangency
L=Length of Curve
C= Chord length
M= Middle Ordinate R R

E= External distance Δ/2 Δ/2


R= Radius of circular curve 19

T= Tangent length
O
HORIZONTAL CURVE 
FUNDAMENTALS

L R
180 PI
T Δ

T  R tan E
2 M
 1  PC
L
Δ/2 PT
E  R  1
 cos  2 
 
M  R1  cos  R R
 2
 Δ/2 Δ/2
C  2 R sin 20
2
PROPERTIES OF COMPOUND CURVE
   1
  2

 1 
t 1
 R1 
 tan
2 

 2 
t 2
 R2 
 tan 
2 

T 1
 t 1
 Vv1

T 2
 t 2
 Vv 2

Vv 2

t1  t 2
 Vv1
Sin1 sin(180   ) sin  2

21
It is preferable that the ratio
of flatter radius to sharper
radius not exceed 1.5:1.

22
EXAMPLE 1
Two tangents intersect at a deflection angle of 23 o18’02’’ and 
a simple horizontal curve of Radius 1400m long inserted to 
join the two tangents. If the point of intersection PI is at 
station 2+200, determine 
•The Tangent distance
•External Distance
•Curve Length
•The Length of the Chord & Middle ordinate
•The Stations of PC & PT  

EXAMPLE 2
A simple horizontal Curve of radius 600m were used to join 
two tangents of a highway. The curve has a length of 250m 
and the station of PI was 6+250. Determine the station of PT  23
and the distance of PI from the curve. 
EXAMPLE­3
A Compound curve consists of two simple horizontal curves of 
 radius R1=600m  & R2=400m was introduced to join two 
tangents which meet at station 255+800. If the central angles 
of the larger  and the smaller  circular curves are 36 o28’12’’ 
and 42o 36’05’’ respectively. Determine the stations of PC, 
PCC and PT.

24
ASSIGNMENT. 1(HA)

A Compound curve of radius R1=1200m  & R2=800m was 
introduced to join two tangents which meet at station 45+260 
with a deflection angle of 68o28’12’’ . If the central angle of 
the smaller circular curves is 38o36’05’’. Determine 
• The stations of PC, PCC and PT. 
•The radius of a simple horizontal curve, that can 
substitute the compound curve 

25
SETTING OUT OF HORIZONTAL 
CURVES(READING ASSIGNMENT­4)

 For simple curve, the following methods are used
1. Offset from Tangent method
2. Offset from Long chord
3. Deflection Angle from PC and normal 
chord 
4. Deflection angle method from PC & PT 
using two theodolite 

PLEASE REFER TO YOUR SURVEYING 
COURSE & ANY SURVEYING BOOKS
READING ASSIGNMENT­4 26
REFERENCES

 P.H. Wright and K.K Dixon.  (2010). Highway Engineering, 
Seventh Edition.  Chapter 7

 American Association of State Highway and Transportation 
Officials (AASHTO).  (2001).  A Policy on Geometric Design of 
Highways and Streets, Fourth Edition.  Washington, D.C.

 Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA). (2002). Geometric Design 
Manual, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  Addis Ababa City Roads Authority (AACRA). (2003). Geometric 
Design Manual, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
27
3.3 VERTICAL 
ALIGNMENT
3.3 VERTICAL ALIGNMENT
 It consists two elements 
1. Tangent Grade[ straight lines in vertical plane]
2. Vertical Curves 
3.3.1. Tangent Grades 
 Are characterized by their slope or grade 
 It is also related with the vehicles performance & 
the level of service required 
 The effect of steep grade is to slow down heavier 
vehicles (vehicles with smaller power/weight ratio)
 In addition to the steepness of grades ; the length of 
the grade also another  critical factor 
 Hence we need to have maximum grade limits 

29
3.3 VERTICAL ALIGNMENT
 Maximum Gradient 
 Vehicles operation over gradient depends on many 
factors 
 The steepness & the length of grade
 Vehicle composition 

 The number of overtaking opportunity 

 And others

 ERA geometric design manual specify different 
grades for various design standards and terrain type 

30
3.3 VERTICAL ALIGNMENT
 Minimum Gradient 
 A longitudinal minimum gradient of tangent grades 
are specified in design standards for drainage 
purpose
 A minimum grade of 0.5% is recommended in both 
AASHTO & ERA geometric design manual for curbed 
highways & streets 

 However, for uncurbed & paved  roads in flat terrain 
provision of sufficient crown slope can be satisfactory 

31
3.3 VERTICAL ALIGNMENT
Table showing limit for Maximum length of gradient on roads designed
with different Design classes

32
3.3 VERTICAL ALIGNMENT
3.3.2 Vertical Curves 
 Between two tangent grades, in order to ensure a 
smooth transition[ grade change].

  Objective of inserting vertical curves
 a constant rate of change of grade
 Comfortable driving operation 

 Pleasant appearance and 

 Safety 

    Parabolic Vertical curves are provided between 
tangent grades. 

33
3.3 VERTICAL ALIGNMENT
 There are two types of Vertical curves
1. Crest Vertical curve [G2­G1 is negative]
2. Sag vertical curves   [G2­G1 is positive]

34
VERTICAL CURVE FUNDAMENTALS
 Parabolic function
 Constant rate of change of slope
 Implies equal curve tangents

y  ax  bx  c
2

 y is the roadway elevation at x distance 
from the beginning of the curve

35
VERTICAL CURVE FUNDAMENTALS

y
PVI
G1 δ/A
PVC
x G2
PVT
L/2

L
x

PVC = Point of Vertical Curvature


y  ax  bx  c
2
PVI= Point of Vertical Intersection
PVT= Point of vertical tangency
L= Length of Vertical Curve 36

a = Half of Rate of change of grade


RELATIONSHIPS

At the PVC : x  0 and Y  c

dY
At the PVC : x  0 and  b  G1
dx
d 2Y G2  G1 G2  G1
Anywhere: 2
 2a  a
dx L 2L

NB:
• G1, G2 in decimal form,
• L in meter

37
RELATIONSHIPS
PVI
G1 δ
PVC G2
PVT
L/2

L
x

y  r / 2 x  g1x  Ele.PVC
2

Where:
y= elevation of a point on the curve
N:B G& g are used  r= rate of change of grade
synonymously in  x=horizontal distance measured from PVC
this presentation  g1= Entry grade 38

g2= Exit grade


OTHER PROPERTIES •G1, G2 in percent
•L in meter

G1 x

PVT
PVC

Y
Ym G2

PVI Yf
A  G1  G2

A 2 AL AL
Y x Ym  Yf 
200 L 800 200 39
EXAMPLE ­1
A 400 m equal tangent vertical curve has a PVC station of 100+000 at
256.4m. elevation. The initial grade is 2.0 percent and the final grade
is -4.5 percent. Determine the type of curve (sag or crest), the
elevation and stationing of PVI, PVT, and the high point/Lowest point of
the curve.

 (EXAMPLE­2)
Two grade lines intersect at station 2+200 where the point of vertical
intersection (PVI) elevation is 239.5m. The starting grade is -6% and
the ending grade is +2%. If the length of the curve is 500m, compute
a. The stations and elevations of PVC & PVT
b. The elevation of the curve at station 2+200
c. The station and elevation of the highest/lowest point on
the curve 40
d. The elevations at full stations at 20m interval
 (ASSIGNMENT­1 VC)

A -2.5% grade is connected to a +1.0% grade by means of a 180m


parabolic vertical curve. The PVI station and elevation are 100+100
and 100.2m respectively. compute
a. The stations and elevations of PVC & PVT
b. The elevation of the curve at station 100+100
c. The station and elevation of the highest/lowest point on
the curve
d. The elevations on the curve at full stations of 20m interval

41
CHAPTER – 4

Safety Considerations in
Geometric Design of Highway

42
What are Safety Considerations taken
into account in the Geometric Design
Process?
 SightDistance
 Supper Elevation

 Lane Widening

 Design Speed

 Minimum Vertical clearance

43
4.1 Sight Distance 

Stopping sight distance (SSD)

Passing sight distance (PSD)

Length of vertical curve has a significant effect on both 
passing and stopping sight distance.

Therefore, sight distance provided on the vertical curve is a 
function of curve length. 

44
LENGTH OF VERTICAL CURVE
 What is Length of Vertical Curve?
 What elements of the vertical curve are governed by 
the length of vertical curve?
 How does it affect the vehicle operation?

 How should we determine its length?

45
LENGTH OF VERTICAL CURVE CONT.

o Minimum length of vertical curve set based on; 
a) Sight distance requirement 
b) Comfort standards 
c) Appearance criteria
d) Vertical clearance

 There are two ways to determine Length of vertical curve
a. Determining curve length based on Stopping sight 
distance value
b. Determining curve length based on ‘K’ value

46
a. Determining Vertical curve length based on SSD Value
For crest vertical curves

SSD

PVI
Line of Sight

PVC PVT G2
G1

h2
h1

For SSD < L For SSD > L

L
A SSD 
2

L  2 SSD  

200 h1  h2  2

 
47
2
100 2h1  2h2 A
Crest vertical Curve Cont.…
 According to AASHTO for Stopping sight 
distance 
 h1 = driver’s eye height = 1.08m.
 h2 = tail light height = 0.6m.

 Simplified Equations

For SSD < L For SSD > L


A SSD 
2
658
L L  2 SSD  
658 A 48
Sag Vertical curve

Light Beam Distance (SSD)

G1
headlight beam (diverging from LOS by β degrees) G2

PVC PVT

h1 PVI
h2=0

L For SSD > L


For SSD < L
200 h1   SSD  tan  
A SSD  L  2 SSD  
2
L A
200 h1  SSD tan  
49
Sag Vertical curves Cont.….
 Assumptions for design
 h1 = headlight height = 0.6m
 β = 1 degree

 Simplified Equations

For SSD ≤ L For SSD > L

   120  3.5 SSD  


2
A SSD
L L  2 SSD    
120  3.5 SSD   A 

50
51
b. Determination of Length of vertical curve based on K- Value
 K­Value (defines vertical curvature)
 The number of horizontal distance needed for a 1% 
change in slope
L
K
A
 Design standards set the value of K for different 
design speeds to ensure sufficient sight distances, 
riding comfort, aesthetics  and safety.

 According to ERA design manual the value of K for 
different design speeds for both stopping & passing 
sight  distances is shown below
52
LENGTH OF VERTICAL CURVE USING 
VERTICAL CURVATURE 

53
54
LENGTH OF VERTICAL CURVE USING 
VERTICAL CURVATURE(K­VALUE)

55
EXAMPLE­ 4.1

Determine the minimum length of vertical curve between an entry


grade of +2.5% and an exit grade of -1.5% for a road with a 100Km/h
design speed and intended to provide 190m long stopping sight
distance.

56
EXAMPLE ­4.2
A car is traveling at 50 km/h in the country at night on a wet road
through a 50 m long sag vertical curve. The entering grade is -2.4
percent and the exiting grade is 4.0 percent. A tree has fallen across
the road at approximately the PVT. Assuming the driver cannot see
the tree until it is lit by her headlights, is it reasonable to expect the
driver to be able to stop the car before facing collision with tree?

EXAMPLE ­4.3
Along a road with a design speed of 70Km/h, a -5.5% grade intersect
with a +2.5% grade at station 75+20 and elevation 56.08m.

a. Determine the minimum length of the vertical curve to the


nearest 20m according to ERA Geometric design manual for
both Stopping sight distance & passing sight distance
requirement.
b. Determine the station & elevations of PVC, PVT and the
highest/lowest point 57
c. Prepare the setting out data at 20m full stations.
Minimum Curve Length for Vertical Clearance

In some cases the length of vertical curve may be 
limited by the need to provide clearances over or 
under objects such as:
 Overpasses 
 Drainage structures 
 Utility Lines

58
Vertical Clearance Cont.…

Elev. PVC

PVC PVT

C
m: represents the sum of elev. Elevation of 
of an object & C. PVI an object (e)
Z: horizontal distance b/n PVI
& location an object.
C: vertical clear distance z
required b/n an object & road
profile.
59
e: Elevation of top surface of an
object.
EXAMPLE-4.4
A vertical curve joins a -1.2% grade to a +0.8% grade. The PVI of the
vertical curve is at station 75+00 and elevation of 50.90m. The
centerline of the roadway must clear a pipe located at station 75+40 by
0.80m. If the elevation of the pipe is 51.10m, assume design speed
120 km/hr.
a.Determine the minimum length of the vertical curve that can be used.
b.Check the length of the vertical curve determined above if it is
sufficient for SSD requirement of 180m
c. Determine the station & elevations of PVC, PVT and the
highest/lowest point
d.Prepare the setting out data at 20m full stations.

60
EXAMPLE­4.5

 Given the profile below, determine;
a) The length of vertical curve needed to make the 
highest point on an overpass vertical curve come 
out exactly over the centerline of the cross road at 
station 150+70.
b) The vertical clearance between the profile grade on 
the vertical curve and the centerline of the cross 
road. 

Station of PVI: 150+00


PVI Elevation of PVI: 48.00

+6%
-3%
Cross Road CL 61
Elevation of cross road
center line:37.50
Passing Sight Distance (PSD)

 d1 = initial maneuver distance, including a time for perception and reaction


 d2 = distance covered by passing vehicle while it is in the opposing lane
 d3 = clearance distance between vehicles at the end of the maneuver
 d4 = distance traversed by the opposing vehicle 62
Source: ERA Design Manual-2002

 d4 = 2d2/3

63
Horizontal Curve Radius Based on Stopping Sight 
Distance

The minimum radius of a horizontal curve depends on
 Design speed Vd of the highway, 

Super elevation e,

Coefficient of side friction fs.

Where,
Rm : Minimum Horizontal Radius
e: supper elevation value
fs: coefficient of friction

64
Where
HSO: Horizontal Sight offset

65
Where
R: Radius of horizontal curve measured from the center line of inner lane to center
of the curve.

m: horizontal clear distance b/n the center line of inner lane to an obstruction on
the side of the road.

SSD: Stopping sight distance on the horizontal curve

66
Example: 4.6
A horizontal curve with a radius of 400m connects the tangents of 
a  two­way  and  two­lane  highway  of  3.5m/lane  that  has  a  posted 
speed limit of 80Km/hr.  
Determine  the  horizontal  sightline  offset  (HSO)  that  a  large 
billboard  can  be  placed  from  the  centerline  of  the  inside  lane  of 
the curve, without reducing the required SSD. Perception­reaction 
time is 2.5 sec, and fs = 0.35.

67
Reading Assignment
Read about Lane widening
Types of widening 
Why do we need to widen 
lane width?
What are factors that affect 
the amount of widening that 
we are going to provide? 

68
4.2 Supper Elevation

69
70
71
V2
Rv  Where, V is design speed (Km/hr.)
127 f s  e 

Where:
 e=rate of super elevation 
 fs= coefficient of friction
 R= radius of horizontal curve in meter  
 V= Design Speed in Km/hr. 72
 g= 9.81m/s2
 
Selection Criterion for e & fs values
Practical limits on super-elevation (e)
• Climate
• Constructability
• Adjacent land use
Side friction factor (fs) variations
• Vehicle speed
• Pavement texture
• Tire condition

The recommended values for “e” and “fs” are given


on the ERA manual. 73
Source: ERA Geometric Design Manual 2002 74
 Should we super-elevate all circular curves of
any radius?????????

 NO!!!!!!!! We don’t need to introduce super-


elevation for curves of extremely long radius

75
Example - 4.2.1
Two tangents meet at station 2+450 at intersection angle of
142°38’. If the road is designed for a design speed of 90Km/hr. and
the allowable rate of super elevation is 8%. Determine the station
of PT if coefficient of side friction is 0.12
Example - 4.2.2
Two tangents meets at station 2+251 at a deflection angle of 36°.
If a circular curve is inserted so that it meets the forward tangent
at a control point of station 2+430 measured along the tangent.
Determine
a) The radius of the curve & the station of PT after the curve
is inserted
b) The super-elevation of the curve if the design speed is
120km/hr. and coefficient of friction be 0.12
c) What will happen to the value of the super elevation if the
design speed decreased to 85Km/hr. 76
Exercise - 1
Determine the radius of circular horizontal curves for which
supper-elevation is not needed or the normal crown slope of 2%
of the road kept unchanged. Take the side friction b/n the tire &
the road surface to be 0.12 and the design speeds to be; 120,
100, 90 & 80 Km/hr

77
Attainment of Supper elevation
 Super elevation can be attained by rotating the pavement 
 With respect to the center or
 With respect to the inner edge
 With respect to the outer edge(rarely used)
 The diagram which show the manner of the transition or 
attainment of the super elevation is known as Super 
elevation Diagram.

Consists of Super elevation Runoff(SR) and Tangent Run out 
(TR) sections
 Tangent  Runout  (TR):  length  of  roadway  covered  from 
beginning  of  super  elevation(BS)  to  beginning  of  horizontal 
curve (PC). 
 Supper  elevation  Runoff  (SR):  length  of  roadway  needed 
from PX to start of  full super elevation(emax) 78
Methods of attaining supper elevation

i. Rotation about the centerline ( depressing the


inner edge and raising the outer edge each by
half the total super elevation.

ii. Rotation about the inner edge(raising both


center as well as outer edge-outer edge is raised
by the total amount of super elevation)

iii. Rotation about the outer edge(rarely used)


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Supper elevation Attainment

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Supper elevation Attainment

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Calculation of Supper elevation
Parameters

 X = wcr --------------- (1)


SR = erw----------------(2)

TR = X + SR*PS
Where, w = total width of lane in one direction
c = crown slope (decimal value)
r = rate of supper elevation (1:r)
e = maximum supper elevation applied
ps = % of supper elevation runout distance covered before
horizontal curve 82
Example - 4.2.3

A 2.5% crown sloped two way two-lane highway of


3.6m/lane has a design speed of 90Km/hr. If a 400m radius
horizontal curve is used to connect the two tangents and the
rate of super-elevation runoff is 1/200. Taking side friction to
be 0.1 determine:
a) The rate of super elevation
b) The length of supper elevation runoff, tangential
runoff, Crown removed distance & total distance
covered to attain maximum super elevation value.
c) Draw the supper-elevation diagram assuming rotation
about the center.

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