You are on page 1of 3


Transportation Engineering

Submitted to

Arfan Atta

Submitted to

M. Mohsin

The Transition Curves (Spiral Curves)

The transition curve (spiral) is a curve that has a varying radius. It is used on
railroads and most highways. It has the following purposes.
1- Provide a gradual transition from the tangent to a simple circular curve
With radius R
2- Allows for gradual application of superelevation.

Advantages of the spiral curves:

1- Provide a natural easy to follow path such that the lateral force increase
and decrease gradually as the vehicle enters and leaves the circular curve
2- The length of the transition curve provides a suitable location for the
superelevation runoff.
3- The spiral curve facilitate the transition in width where the travelled way is
4- The appearance of the highway is enhanced by the application of spiral
When transition curves are not provided, drivers tend to create their own
transition curves by moving laterally within their travel lane and sometimes
the adjoining lane, which is risky not only for them but also for other road
2 Curve Alignment
Horizontal Alignment
A horizontal curve provides a transition between two tangent strips of roadway,
allowing a vehicle to negotiate a turn at a gradual rate rather than a sharp cut.
The components of the horizontal alignment include tangents (segments of straight
lines), circular curves and, in some cases, spiral transition curves. The manner in
which these components are assembled into a horizontal alignment will significantly
affect the safety, operational efficiency, and aesthetics of the highway.

Design speed is the principal factor controlling the design of horizontal
alignment. Several geometric standards related to design speed are very
specific. Other criteria cannot be defined as specifically and require that
judgments be made by designers in consideration of local conditions.
Guidelines for some of these decisions are outlined below. Additional,
general discussion on Design Speed can be found in Chapter 2 of the current
AASHTO publication A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets.

In general, above-minimum design criteria for specific design elements

should be used, where practical, particularly on high-speed facilities. In
contrast, the designer is cautioned that on lower.

Vertical Alignment
The vertical alignment contributes significantly to a highways safety, aesthetics,
operations, and costs. Long, gentle vertical curves provide greater sight distances
and a more pleasing appearance for the driver.
compatibility with existing grades and elevations on adjacent land
and approaching roads and driveways/entrances adjacent to the
new alignment
design speed
sight distance
vertical clearances
lengths of grade