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Distribution of Superelevation

Reference to Equation 4-7, where the f-value is equal to zero, the whole lateral force is

balanced by the superelevation (‘hands-off’ condition). This condition can occur on large

radius curves or for slow moving vehicles on curves of any radius. At low speeds, the f-

value can be negative, and the curve is then over-superelevated for that speed. Horizontal

curves are generally designed, however, so that a positive f-value is required for the range

of vehicle speeds likely to occur by provision of an adequate e-value.

This section explains how the superelevation is determined for curve radii greater than the

minimum curve radius for a specified design speed in accordance with the AASHTO ‘94

method, taking into account the current practice adopted the Road development Authority.

The superelevation distribution curve is approximated by using a parabolic equation as

illustrated in Figure 4-7. The rationale of using the parabolic curve in comparison with

two other approaches may be described as follows:

• Distribution curve 1 shows that the superelevation (e) corresponds linearly with the

degree of curve (D). As it will be shown later, the degree of curve is basically an

inverse function of the radius of curve (R); the smaller the D value, the higher will

be the R value. Whilst, distribution curve 1 offers simplicity in the calculation, on

flatter curves it results in higher side friction coefficients than that expected by

drivers. So, this may cause to some degree an uncomfortable feeling to the drivers.

• Distribution curve 2 shows that the maximum superelevation is provided for the

lower range of curve radii and the superelevation for the higher range of curve radii

is provided to exert all the lateral force acting on the vehicle, such that the side

friction coefficient equals to zero (hands-off condition). If this distribution curve is

accepted for design, it may cause some inconveniences for vehicles traveling on the

flatter curves at speeds less than the design speed, because they will receive

negative side friction coefficients. Therefore, it may be desirable to use this

distribution curve as the lower limit to represent about 50% of drivers (the average

speed). Then, for the design speed and with the same superelevation curve,

distribution curve 3 of side friction coefficients is obtained.

• Distribution curve 3 is effected as a result of the conditions set above for the

vehicles traveling at the design speed. This distribution curve after being

approximated by an unsymmetrical parabolic function is then normally adopted.

However, from local experience in Sri Lanka where the proportion of slow moving and

non-motorized vehicles in most of the road network are quite significant, the provision for

a greater superelevation compensated by a lower side friction coefficient appears to be

undesirable.

Hence, for roads in open areas, distribution curve 3 of superelevation may be used. Whilst,

for roads in built-up areas, other distribution curves that employ fmax for greater

superelevations are required. The greater side friction coefficients on these roads may be

acceptable due to lower operating speeds frequently used by drivers because of traffic

interruption from high volumes, short trips as well as side road activities.

Figure 4-7: Derivation of the superelevation distribution curve

as follows:

represented by the degree of curvature (D), as illustrated in Figure 4-8, such that:

25 m

D 25

------ = ------

R

360 2πR

D

1432.394

D = ----------- . . . (4-11)

R

V2 D V2 D

e+f = -------------------- = -------- . . . (4-9a)

127 * 1432.349 c

Therefore, for a given design speed, the relationship between (e+f) and D becomes

linear.

The intersecting point of the distribution curve (DPI,HPI) can be calculated from

the general horizontal curve equation.

emax * c

DPI = ------------ . . . (4-9b)

(Vmean)2

V2 DPI

HPI = ---------- - emax

c

⎧ V2 ⎫

= emax ⎨ --------- - 1 ⎬ . . . (4-9c)

⎩ (Vmean)2 ⎭

Other parameters needed are the three slopes of the distribution curve at the

beginning (S2), at DPI (S) and at the end (S1) and the D max.

HPI

S1 = ------ . . . (4-9d)

DPI

(fmax - HPI)

S2 = ------------------- . . . (4-9e)

(Dmax - DPI)

fmax S1 (DPI) + S2 (Dmax - DPI)

S = --------- = ----------------------------------

Dmax Dmax

(emax + fmax) * 127 * 1432.349

Dmax = ---------------------------------------------- . . . (4-9f)

V2

The general parabolic curve through the origin (0,0) is in the following format:

f = a D2 + b D . . . (4-9g)

df

----- = 2aD+b

dD

⎧ df ⎫

⎨ ----- ⎬ = S1 = 2 a 0 + b

⎩ dD ⎭D=0

b = S1

Since (S1 D) is the tangent line, for convenience, the f-axis can therefore be

translated to F-axis, such that:

F = a D2

For its operational use, it would be convenient if this equation is converted into the

following format.

⎧ D ⎫2

F = mo ⎨ ----- ⎬ . . . (4-9h)

⎩ DPI ⎭

where:

mo = a * DPI2

⎧ dF ⎫ DPI

⎨ ----- ⎬ = S = 2 mo -------

⎩ dD ⎭D=DPI DPI2

S * DPI

mo = ---------

2

S1 (DPI) + S2 (Dmax - DPI) DPI

mo = ----------------------------------- * -----

Dmax 2

DPI

mo = ---------- * S2 * Dmax - (S2 - S1) DPI

2 Dmax

DPI ⎧ S2 ⎫

mo = ---------- * (S2 - S1) ⎨ ----------- * Dmax - DPI ⎬

2 Dmax ⎩ (S2 - S1) ⎭

Assuming,

S2

-------- = 1

S2 - S1

Then,

DPI

mo = ---------- * (S2 - S1) * (Dmax - DPI) . . . (4-9i)

2 Dmax

With this mo-value in Eq. (4-9i), the general horizontal curve (parabolic) equation

finally becomes:

For D ≤ DPI,

⎧ D ⎫2

f = mo ⎨ ----- ⎬ + S1 D . . . (4-9j)

⎩ DPI ⎭

For D ≥ DPI,

⎧ Dmax - D ⎫2

f = mo ⎨ --------------- ⎬ + HPI + S2 (D - DPI) . . . (4-9k)

⎩ Dmax - DPI ⎭

function of curve radius can be calculated for various design speeds and maximum

superelevations. Yet, for this calculation, the average speed in relation with the

design speed should first be established, as described in the following section.

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