Reliability indices for road geometric design
FRANCIS . D. NAVIN
Department of Civil Engineering, The University of British Columbia,
Main Mall, Vancouver, B.C.,Canada V6T
1991Revised manuscript accepted January 3 1, 1992Highway engineers, when asked to state the safety of a particular design, are usually at a loss to give a single mean-ingful measure as is possible in structural or geotechnical engineering. This paper outlines a method to estimate themargin of safety and reliability index for isolated highway components. The stopping sight distance is used to demon-strate the method. The method uses the basic highway design equations. On the assumption that the variables are ran-dom, the expected value of the mean and the variance are estimated; and from these the margin of safety and thereliability index are calculated. The most likely combination of variables for the existing design condition may alsobe estimated. The variables included represent the characteristics of the driver, the vehicle, and the road surface.
method is proposed to specify the design parameter's value representing a road's strategic importance, the users,the vehicles, the drivers, the environment, the terrain, and the standard of design and construction. The apparent advan-tage of the proposed reliability-based method is that the designer must explicitly specify the importance of the modify-ing factors and may also more closely investigate the behaviour of the variables in the design parameters in the criticalregion near noncompliance.
limit states design, stopping sight distance, safety, highway design, reliability.Lorsqu'on leur demande de se prononcer sur la securiti d'un concept particulier, les ingknieurs routiers ont habituel-lement de la peine
fournir une seule mesure valable comme cela est le cas en genie geotechnique ou en genie desstructures. Cet article dicrit une mithode d'evaluation de la marge de securite et de I'indice de fiabiliti de composantesroutikresisolies. La distance de visibiliti d'arrEt est utilisie pour dimontre la methode. Celle-ci a recours aux iquationsde conception routikre de base et retient comme hypothkse que les variables sont aleatoires; la marge de securitk etI'indice de fiabiliti peuvent Etre calcules
partir de ces iquations. La combinaison de variables la plus probable pourles conditions de conception existantes peut egalement Etre estimie. Les variables incluses representent les caractiristi-ques du conducteur, du vihicule et du revstement routier.Une methode est proposie afin de spicifier la valeur du paramktre de conception reprisentant I'importance stratigiquede la route, les utilisateurs, les vihicules, les conducteurs, I'environnement, le terrain et la norme de conception etde construction. L'avantage de la mithode proposee est que le concepteur doit spicifier clairement I'importance desfacteurs de modification et qu'il peut igalement analyser de plus prks le comportement des variables dans les parame-tres de conception qui se trouvent dans la region critique
proximite de la dirogation.
calcul aux Ctats limites, distance de visibiliti d'arrEt, securiti, conception des autoroutes fiabiliti.[Traduit par la redaction]
Road geometric design procedures have been criticized byOlsen
(1984), Navin (1986), Hauer (1988), Hutchinsonand Parker (1989), and Glennon (1989) for failing to meetsome of the established operational safety standards undercertain conditions. Road design procedures have evolved inmuch the same manner as those in other engineering fields,i.e., years of practical experience backed by theory whenpossible. The end result is an implicit assumption that if thepublished standards have been correctly applied, then theroad has an adequate margin of safety. This assumption isalso accepted by the courts when ruling on the designer'sliability for vehicular accidents when road geometry oroperation is suspected. Road geometric design standards arefound in RTAC (1976) and AASHTO (1984), the opera-tional standards are in UTCD (1976) and the ITE Handbook(1982). These standards have developed a very efficientdesign and building process, but have generally laggedbehind the reality of the actual drivers and vehicles operatingon the nation's roads.
Written discussion of this paper is welcomed and will bereceived by the Editor until February28, 1993 (address insidefront cover).
Primed in Canada
The purpose of this paper is to outline a new road designmethod based on the reliability concept of limit state designthat is used in structural engineering. The proposed methodwill allow for the direct input into design equations ofchanges that may characterize the future of either the vehi-cle, the driver, or the pavement surface. As well, the char-acteristics of the design parameters in the region of interestmay also be explored to gain additional engineering insights.
Limit states design definitions
The structural engineer's design objectives are similar tothose of the highway engineer, which are to provide a safereliable structure that does its job; to provide a structurethat is economical to build and maintain; and to providea structure that is aesthetically pleasing (see Kulak
1985). Design, to the structural engineer, means the geo-metrical arrangement of structural members as well as theselection of adequately large members to resist the imposedforces and bending moments determined during analysis.As structures have become more complicated and engineer-ing knowledge more complete, the analysis has advancedfrom the relatively simple procedures for statically deter-minate structures to those of limit state design.