Design radius requirements for simple horizontal curves on three-dimensional alignments
Easa, Said M
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: Current North American design guides have established mathematical relationships to calculate the minimum radius required for horizontal curves as a function of design speed, maximum superelevation, and maximum side fric- tion. For three-dimensional (3-D) alignments, the design guides consider the alignment as two separate horizontal and vertical alignments and consequently ignore the effect of vertical alignment. This paper evaluates the effect of vertical alignment on minimum radius requirements using computer simulation, with a focus on trucks. For 3-D alignments, the results showed that existing design guidelines for minimum radius need to be increased by as much as 20% to achieve the same comfort limit on flat horizontal curves. It is interesting to note that in some cases truck rollover occurred be- fore the side-friction comfort level is reached. This indicates the need for developing a different design control for trucks on 3-D alignments than the comfort criterion used for passenger cars on flat horizontal curves. Based on the simulation results, mathematical models for design radius requirements for passenger cars and trucks were developed.