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The purpose of this document is to provide details of various spirals, their characteristics and in
what kind of situations they are typically used. Typical spirals (or transition curves) used in
horizontal alignments are clothoids (also called as ideal transitions), cubic spirals, cubic
parabola, sinusoidal and cosinusoidal.
Index
1 Transition curves in Road Design .................................................................................................... 1
1.1.1 Transition curves .................................................................................................................. 3
1.1.2 Superelevation ...................................................................................................................... 3
1.1.2.1 Method of maximum friction ........................................................................................ 3
1.1.2.2 Method of maximum superelevation .......................................................................... 4
1.1.3 Length of Transition Curve ................................................................................................. 4
1.2 Clothoid .......................................................................................................................................... 5
1.2.1 Clothoid geometry ................................................................................................................. 8
1.2.2 Expressions for various spiral parameters ...................................................................... 9
1.2.3 Clothoids in different situations ....................................................................................... 11
1.2.4 Staking out Northing and Easting values for Clothoid ................................................. 12
1.3 Cubic Spirals .............................................................................................................................. 13
1.3.1 Relationships between various parameters .................................................................. 13
1.4 Cubic Parabola ........................................................................................................................... 14
1.4.1 Minimum Radius of Cubic Parabola ................................................................................ 15
1.5 Sinusoidal Curves ...................................................................................................................... 15
1.5.1 Key Parameters .................................................................................................................. 16
1.5.2 Total X Derivation .............................................................................................................. 16
1.5.3 Total Y Derivation ............................................................................................................... 17
1.5.4 Other Important Parameters ............................................................................................. 17
1.6 Cosinusoidal Curves ................................................................................................................. 18
1.6.1 Key Parameters .................................................................................................................. 19
1.6.2 Total X Derivation ............................................................................................................... 19
1.6.3 Total Y Derivation ............................................................................................................... 20
1.6.4 Other Important Parameters ............................................................................................. 21
1.7 Sine HalfWavelength Diminishing Tangent Curve ............................................................. 22
1.7.1 Key Parameters .................................................................................................................. 22
1.7.2 Curvature and Radius of Curvature ................................................................................ 23
1.7.3 Expression for Deflection ................................................................................................. 25
1.7.4 Total X derivation ............................................................................................................... 26
1.7.5 Total Y Derivation ............................................................................................................... 26
1.7.6 Other Important Parameters ............................................................................................. 27
1.8 BLOSS Curve ............................................................................................................................. 27
1.8.1 Key Parameters .................................................................................................................. 28
1.8.2 Total X Derivation .............................................................................................................. 28
1.8.3 Total Y Derivation .............................................................................................................. 28
1.8.4 Other Important Parameters ............................................................................................. 29
1.9 Lemniscates Curve .................................................................................................................... 30
1.10 Quadratic spirals ...................................................................................................................... 30
1.1.1 Transi ti on curves
Primary functions of a transition curves (or easement curves) are:
• To accomplish gradual transition from the straight to circular curve, so that curvature
changes from zero to a finite value.
• To provide a medium for gradual introduction or change of required superelevation.
• To changing curvature in compound and reverse curve cases, so that gradual change of
curvature introduced from curve to curve.
To call a spiral between a straight and curve as valid transition curve, it has to satisfy the
following conditions.
• One end of the spiral should be tangential to the straight.
• The other end should be tangential to the curve.
• Spiral’s curvature at the intersection point with the circular arc should be equal to arc
curvature.
• Also at the tangent its curvature should be zero.
• The rate of change of curvature along the transition should be same as that of the increase of
cant.
• Its length should be such that full cant is attained at the beginning of circular arc.
1.1. 2 Superelevati on
There are two methods of determining the need for superelevation.
1.1. 2.1 Method of maxi mum fri cti on
In this method, we find the value of radius above which we don’t need superelevation needs to
be provided. That is given by the following equation.
fW
gR
Wv
·
2
fg
v
R
2
· ∴
If the radius provided is less than the above value… that has to be compensated by
) tan 1 (
) (tan
2
θ
θ
f
f
gR
v
−
+
·
1.1. 2. 2 Method of maxi mum superelevati on
In this method – we just assume that there is no friction factor contributing and hence make
sure that swaying due to the curvature is contained by the cant.
θ tan
2
g
v
R ·
1.1. 3 Length of Transi t i on Curve
Typically minimum length of transition curve is equal to the length of along which
superelevation is distributed. If the rate at which superelevation introduced (rate of change of
superelevation) is 1 in n, then
nE L ·
E  in centimeters
n  1 cm per n meters
By time rate (tr):
r
t
ev
L ·
tr – time rate in cm/sec
By rate of change of radial acceleration:
An acceptable value of rate of change of centrifugal acceleration is 1 ft/sec**2/sec or
(0.3m/sec**2/sec), until which user doesn’t find any discomfort. Based on this:
R
v
L
α
3
·
– rate of change of radial acceleration in m/sec**3
1.2 1.2 Clothoi d Clothoi d
An ideal transition curve is that which introduces centrifugal force at a gradual rate (by time t).
So, t F ∝
Centrifugal force at any radius r is given by:
t
gr
Wv
F ∝ ·
2
Assuming that the speed of the vehicle that is negotiating the curve is constant, the length of
the transition negotiated too is directly proportional to the time.
l t
So, l 1/r
c s
R L const lr · · ∴
Thus, the fundamental requirement of a transition curve is that its radius is of curvature at any
given point shall vary inversely as the distance from the beginning of the spiral. Such a curve
is called clothoid of Glover’s spiral and is known as an ideal transition.
LR
l
r
LR lr
·
·
1
As 1/r is nothing but the curvature at that point, curvature equation can be written as:
LR
l
r dl
d
· ·
1 θ
dl
LR
l
d · θ
Integrating, we get
C
RL
l
+ ·
2
2
θ
Where is the deflection angle from the tangent (at a point on spiral length l)
At l = 0; = 0
Substituting these, we get C = 0
Hence the intrinsic equation of the ideal transition curve is:
RL
l
2
2
· θ (In Cartesian coordinates, slope can be expressed as
dx
dy
)
Also the total deflection angle subtended by transition curve of length L and
radius R at the other end is given by:
s = L/2R (a circular arc of same length would change the direction by L/R)
Further, if we examine the curvature equation it is evident that rate of change of curvature is
constant.
LR
l
dl
d
Curvature · ·
θ
(A function of
2
2
dx
y d
)
Differentiating both sides with respect to l, we get
Rate of change of curvature =
Const
LR dl
d
· ·
1
2
2
θ
(also expressed as
3
3
dy
y d
)
Following illustration gives example of a SCS curve fit between two straights.
1.2.1 Cl othoi d geomet ry
Details of an SCS fitting are presented in the following figure. Spiral before curve (points
TCD) is of length 175 meters and spiral after the curve is of 125 meters.
Following are the key parameters that explain this geometry.
LDT terms In the figure Description
L1 TCD Length of the spiral – from TS to SC
PI V Point of horizontal intersection point (HIP)
TS T Point where spiral starts
SC D Point where spiral ends and circular curve begins
i1
s1
Spiral angle (or) Deflection angle between tangent TV tangential
direction at the end of spiral.
T1 TV Total (extended) tangent length from TS to PI
X1 Total X =
TD2
Tangent distance at SC from TS
Y1 Total Y =
D2D
Offset distance at SC from (tangent at) TS
P1 AB The offset of initial tangent in to the PC of shifted curve (shift of
the circular curve)
K1 TA Abscissa of the shifted curve PC referred to TS (or tangent
distance at shifted PC from TS)
B Sifted curve’s PC
LT1 TD1 Long tangent of spiral in
ST1 DD1 Short tangent of spiral in
RP O Center point of circular curve
c c Angle subtended by circular curve in radians
Total deflection angle between the two tangents
R R Radius of the circular curve
Similarly are the parameters for the second curve. Also note the following points that further
helps in understanding the figure shown above.
• Line passing through TV is the first tangent
• V is the actual HIP
• Actual circular curve in the alignments is between D and CS
• The dotted arc (in blue colour) is extension of the circular arc
• The dotted straight BV1 (in blue colour parallel to the original tangent) is tangential line to
the shifted arc.
• B is the shifted curve’s PC point.
• So OB is equal to R of circular curve and OA is collinear to OB and perpendicular to the
actual tangent.
• D is the SC point
• DD1 is the tangent at SC
• DD2 is a perpendicular line to the actual (extended) tangent.
• And similarly for the spiral out.
1.2. 2 Expressi ons for vari ous spi ral parameters
Two most commonly used parameters by engineers in designing and setting out a spiral are L
(spiral length) and R (radius of circular curve). Following are spiral parameters expressed in
terms of these two.
1. Flatness of spiral =
LR A ·
2. Spiral deflection angle(from initial tangent) at a length l (along spira)l =
RL
l
2
2
3.
R
L
s
2
· ∆ = Spiral angle (subtended by full length)
4. = s1+ c+ s2 (where c is the angle subtended by the circular arc).
...]
3456 40
1 [ *
4 4
8
2 2
4
− + − ·
L R
l
L R
l
l x
At l = L (full length of transition)
5.
...]
3456 40
1 [ *
4
4
2
2
− + − ·
R
L
R
L
L TotalX
...]
7040 56
1 [
6
4 4
8
2 2
4 3
− + − ·
L R
l
L R
l
RL
l
y
At l = L (full length of transition)
6.
...]
7040 56
1 [
6
4
4
2
2 2
− + − ·
R
L
R
L
R
L
TotalY
7.
3
) ( tan
1
θ
α ≅ ·
−
x
y
= Polar deflection angle
P = shift of the curve = AE – BE
8. ) cos 1 (
s
R TotalY P ∆ − − · ∴
9. K = Total X – R*SIN s (= TA. This is also called as spiral extension)
Total (extended) tangent = TV = TA + AV
10. Tangent (extended) length = TV = K P R +
∆
+
2
tan ) (
In the above equation we used total deflection angle
P* TAN/2 is also called as shift increment;
11. Long Tangent = TD1 = (Total X) – (Total Y)*COTs
12. Short Tangent = DD1 = (Total Y) *(COSECs)
Some cool stuff: At shifted curve PC point length of spiral gets bisected. This
curve length TC = curve length CD.
1.2. 3 Cl othoi ds i n di f ferent si tuati ons
Simple Clothoid
Simple clothoid is the one which is fit between a straight section and a circular curve for
smooth transition. Key parameters are explained in section 2.2.2
Reversing Clothoid
This consists of two Clothoids with opposing curvatures and is generally fit between two curves
of opposite direction. In the geometry an SS (spiralspiral) point is noticed with ZERO
curvature. Also typically this should be the point at which flat surface (cross section) happens.
Besides the parameters explained in section 2.2.2 (for each of the spirals) following conditions
are usually observed.
• For unequal A1 and A2 (for R1 > R2)  2 5 . 1 1 A A ≤
• For the symmetrical reversing clothoid –
The common Clothoid parameter can be approximated by:
4
3
24
R R
dR A ·
Where d is the distance between two circular curves
2 1 1 R R C C d − − ·
and surrogate radius
2 1
2 1
R R
R R
R
R
+
·
Eggshaped Clothoid
This is fit between two curves of same direction, but with two different radii. Conditions for
successful eggshaped curve are:
• Smaller circular curve must be on the inside of the larger circular curve.
• They are not allowed to intersect with each other and should not be concentric.
The eggshaped spiral parameter can be approximated to:
4
3
24
E E
dR A ·
Where d is the distance between two circular curves
2 1
2 1 C C R R d − − ·
and surrogate radius
2 1
2 1
R R
R R
R
E
−
·
1.2. 4 St aki ng out Nort hi ng and East i ng val ues for Cl othoi d
We know station, northing (N) and easting (E) values of the TS point. Also from the equations
given in the Sections 2.2.1 and 2.2.2, we could get various points on the spiral. Using these we
could extract (N, E) values of any arbitrary point on the spiral. Suppose
• l is the length of the spiral (from TS) at any arbitrary point on spiral
• L is the total length of the spiral
• R is the radius of circular curve (at the end of the spiral).
•
TS
E
is easting (or x value) of the spiral start point TS in Cartesian coordinate system.
•
TS
N
is northing (or y value) of the spiral start point TS in Cartesian coordinate system.
•
l
E
is easting (or x value) of arbitrary point on the spiral (at length l).
•
TS
N
is northing (or y value) of arbitrary point on the spiral (at length l).
• E ∆ is change in the easting from TS to arbitrary point on spiral.
• N ∆ is change in the northing from TS to arbitrary point on spiral.
• is the angle between East (X) axis and the tangent measured counterclockwise
• is the angle subtended at TS by extended tangent and the chord connecting TS and
arbitrary point on spiral (is positive if the spiral is right hand side; and negative if the
spiral is left hand side).
• d is the length of the spiral chord from TS to point any point on the spiral.
•
l
S
is the station value of the alignment at that arbitrary point.
•
TS
S
is the station value of the alignment at TS
From above information, we know that
TS l
S S l − ·
Knowing the value of l
...]
3456 40
1 [ *
4 4
8
2 2
4
− + − ·
L R
l
L R
l
l x
(Preapproximation equations see section 2.2.2)
...]
7040 56
1 [
6
4 4
8
2 2
4 3
− + − ·
L R
l
L R
l
RL
l
y
(Preapproximation equations see section 2.2.2)
Once x and y are known
) ( tan
1
x
y
−
· α
α β β − ·
1
= Angle subtended by chord (from TS to the point on spiral) with respect to X axis
(measured counterclockwise)
Also length of the chord =
2 2
y x d + ·
With these we can compute
1
cos β d E · ∆
1
sin β d N · ∆
Given this ) , ( ) , ( E E N N E N
TS TS l l
∆ + ∆ + ·
If we need (N,E) values at regular intervals (say 50 m) along the spiral we can compute them
using the above set of equations.
1.3 1.3 Cubi c Spi ral s Cubi c Spi ral s
This is first order approximation to the clothoid.
If we assume that sin = , then dy/dl = sin = = l**2/2RL
On integrating and applying boundary conditions we get,
13.
RL
l
y
6
3
·
14.
R
l
6 3
2
· ·
θ
α
1.3.1 Rel at i onshi ps bet ween vari ous parameters
Most of the parameters (Like A, P, K Etc…) for cubic spiral are similar to clothoid. Those
which are different from clothoid are:
There is no difference in x and Total X values, as we haven’t assumed anything about cos.
∫
·
L
dl
R L
l
x
0
2 2
2
)
2
cos(
...]
3456 40
1 [ *
4 4
8
2 2
4
− + − ·
L R
l
L R
l
l x
At l = L (full length of transition)
15.
...]
3456 40
1 [ *
4
4
2
2
− + − ·
R
L
R
L
L TotalX
RL
l
y
6
3
·
At l = L (full length of transition)
16.
R
L
TotalY
6
2
·
17.
δ
θ
α
α
− ≅
·
3
tan
x
y
= Polar deflection angle
Up to 15 degrees of deflection  Length along Curve or along chord (10 equal
chords)?
1.4 1.4 Cubi c Parabola Cubi c Parabola
If we assume that cos = 1, then x = l.
Further if we assume that sin = , then
18. x = l and L TotalX · ∴
19.
RL
x
y
6
3
· and
R
L
TotalY
6
2
· ∴
Cosine series is less rapidly converging than sine series. This leads to the
conclusion that Cubic parabola is inferior to cubic spiral.
However, cubic parabolas are more popular due to the fact that they are easy to
set out in the field as it is expressed in Cartesian coordinates.
Rest all other parameters are same as clothoid. Despite these are less accurate than cubic
spirals, these curves are preferred by highway and railway engineers, because they are
very easy to set.
1.4.1 Mi ni mum Radi us of Cubi c Parabol a
Radius at any point on cubic parabola is
θ θ
5
cos sin 2
RL
r ·
A cubic parabola attains minimum r at
5
1
tan · θ
So, RL r 39 . 1
min
·
So cubic parabola radius decreases from infinity to RL r 39 . 1
min
· at 24
degrees, 5 min, 41 sec and from there onwards it starts increasing
again. This makes cubic parabola useless for deflections greater than 24
degrees.
1.5 1.5 Sinusoidal Curves Sinusoidal Curves
These curves represent a consistent course of curvature and are applicable to transition between
0 to 90 degrees of tangent deflections. However these are not popular as they are difficult to
tabulate and stake out. The curve is steeper than the true spiral.
Following is the equation for the sinusoidal curve
20.
]
]
]
−
,
`
.

,
`
.

+ · 1
2
cos
4 2
2
2
L
l
R
L
RL
l π
π
θ
Differentiating with l we get equation for 1/r, where r is the radius of curvature at any given
point.
21.
,
`
.

−
· ∴
L
l
SIN L l
LR
r
π
π
π
2
* 2
2
X and Y values are calculated dl*cos, and dl*sin.
1.5.1 Key Parameters
Radius equation is derived from the fact that
LR
L
l
L l
r dl
d
π
π
π
θ
2
2
sin * 2
1
,
`
.

−
· ·
If we further differentiate this curvature again w.r.t length of curve we get
22. Rate of change of curvature =
]
]
]
,
`
.

− ·
L LR LR dl
d π θ 2
cos
1 1
2
2
Unlike clothoid spirals, this “rate of change of curvature” is not constant in
Sinusoidal curves. Thus these “transition curves” are NOT true spirals –
Chakri 01/20/04
Two most commonly used parameters by engineers in designing and setting out a “transition
curve are L (spiral length) and R (radius of circular curve). Following are spiral parameters
expressed in terms of these two.
23. Spiral angle at a length l along the spiral =
]
]
]
−
,
`
.

,
`
.

+ · 1
2
cos
4 2
2
2
L
l
R
L
RL
l π
π
θ
24.
R
L
s
2
· ∆ = Spiral angle [subtended by full length (or) l = L]
= s1+ c+ s2 (where c is the angle subtended by the circular arc).
1.5. 2 Total X Deri vati on
θ cos dl dx ·
25.
∫
· θ cos dl x , where
]
]
]
−
,
`
.

,
`
.

+ · 1
2
cos
4 2
2
2
L
l
R
L
RL
l π
π
θ
To simplify the problem let us make following subfunctions:
26. If
L
l * 2π
ψ ·
27.
( ) [ ] ψ ψ ψ ψ ψ ψ ψ ψ ψ
π π
cos * 120 sin cos 30 sin 60 240 30 20 3
3840 32
1
2 3 5
2 5
3
2 4
2
+ + − − + − −
]
]
]
− · ∴
R
L
R
L
l x
At l = L (full length of transition); x=X and = . Substituting these in above equation we
28.
2
3
2
2
4
2 4
2400869 0219011258 . 0
*
3840
420 160 96
1
R
L
L X
R
L
L X TotalX
− ·
]
]
]
+ −
− · ·
π
π π
1.5. 3 Total Y Deri vati on
θ sin dl dy ·
29.
∫
· θ sin dl y , where
]
]
]
−
,
`
.

,
`
.

+ · 1
2
cos
4 2
2
2
L
l
R
L
RL
l π
π
θ
30.
]
]
]
− ·
]
]
]
,
`
.

− + − −
,
`
.

− · ·
3
3
3
3
6 4 2 2
162654 0026731818 . 0 560822 1413363707 . 0
*
3072
209
128
5
160
1
336
1
*
4
1
6
1
R
L
R
L
L X
R
L
R
L
L Y TotalY
π π π π
1.5. 4 Other I mport ant Parameters
At l = L (full length of transition); becomes spiral angle = s. Substituting l=L in equation
20 we get:
31.
R
L
s
2
· ∆ (deflection between tangent before and tangent after, of the transition curve)
32. ) arctan(
x
y
l
· α = Polar deflection angle (at a distance l along the transition)
33. ) arctan(
TotalX
TotalY
L
· α = Angle subtended by the spiral’s chord to the tangent before
P = shift of the curve = AE – BE
34. ) cos 1 (
s
R TotalY P ∆ − − · ∴
35.
s
R TotalX K ∆ − · sin (= TA. This is also called as spiral/transition extension)
Total (extended) tangent = TV = TA + AV
36. Tangent (extended) length = TV = K P R +
∆
+
2
tan ) (
In the above equation we used total deflection angle
P* TAN/2 is also called as shift increment;
37. Long Tangent = TD1 =
s
cot * TotalY  TotalX ∆
38. Short Tangent = DD1 =
s
ec TotalY ∆ cos *
Some cool stuff:  What is the length of spiral by shifted curve PC point. Is curve
length TC = curve length CD.
1.6 1.6 Cosinusoidal Curves Cosinusoidal Curves
Following is the equation for the Cosinusoidal curve
39.
]
]
]
,
`
.

− ·
L
l L
l
R
π
π
θ sin *
2
1
Differentiating with l we get equation for 1/r, where r is the radius of curvature at any given
point.
40.
,
`
.

−
· ∴
L
l
R
r
π
cos 1
2
1.6.1 Key Parameters
Previous equation is derived from the fact that
R
L
l
r dl
d
2
cos 1
1
,
`
.

−
· ·
π
θ
If we further differentiate this curvature again w.r.t length of curve we get
41. Rate of change of curvature =
,
`
.

·
L
l
RL dl
d π π θ
sin
2
2
2
Unlike clothoid spirals, this “rate of change of curvature” is not constant in
Cosinusoidal curves. Thus these “transition curves” are NOT true spirals
Two most commonly used parameters by engineers in designing and setting out a “transition
curve are L (spiral length) and R (radius of circular curve). Following are spiral parameters
expressed in terms of these two.
42. Spiral angle at a length l along the spiral =
]
]
]
,
`
.

− ·
L
l L
l
R
π
π
θ sin *
2
1
43.
R
L
s
2
· ∆ = Spiral angle [subtended by full length (or) l = L]
44. = s1+ c+ s2 (where c is the angle subtended by the circular arc).
1.6. 2 Total X Deri vati on
θ cos dl dx ·
45.
∫
· dl x θ cos
To simplify the problem let us make following subfunctions:
From eqn. 43 we get >
]
]
]
,
`
.

− ·
L
l
L
l
R
L π π
π
θ sin
2
46. If
L
l * π
ψ ·
47. ( )
]
]
]
− −
,
`
.

− +
,
`
.

− · ψ ψ ψ
ψ ψ ψ ψ
π π
cos sin 2
2
cos * sin
2 3
*
8
3
2 2
2
L
R
L
l x
At l = L (full length of transition); x=X and = . Substituting these in above equation we
get:
48.
2
3
2
3
2
2
0226689447 . 0
*
48
9 2
R
L
L X
R
L
L X TotalX
− ·
,
`
.
 −
− · ·
π
π
1.6. 3 Total Y Deri vati on
θ sin dl dy ·
From eqn. 43 we have
]
]
]
,
`
.

− ·
L
l
L
l
R
L π π
π
θ sin
2
49. If
L
l * π
ψ ·
50.
]
]
]
¹
'
¹
¹
'
¹
+ − − + − + − + − − + · ∴
24
137
8
2 cos 3
4
2 sin 3
4
3
sin 6 cos 3
3
cos 16
3
cos * sin
4 48
) 1 cos
2
(
2
*
2
2
2 4
3 4
3 2
2
ψ ψ ψ ψ
ψ ψ ψ ψ
ψ ψ ψ ψ
π
ψ
ψ
π R
L
R
L
L y
At l = L (full length of transition); x=X and = . Substituting these in above equation we
get:
51.
( )
]
]
]
− ·
]
]
]
,
`
.
 + −
−
,
`
.

− · ·
3
3
3
3
4
2 4
2
* 400286 0027402322 . 0 576622 1486788163 . 0 *
*
1152
256 54 6
*
1
4
1
R
L
R
L
L Y
R
L
R
L
L Y TotalY
π
π π
π
1.6. 4 Other I mport ant Parameters
At l = L (full length of transition); becomes spiral angle = s. Substituting l=L in equation
20 we get:
52.
R
L
s
2
· ∆ (deflection between tangent before and tangent after, of the transition curve)
53. ) arctan(
x
y
l
· α = Polar deflection angle (at a distance l along the transition)
54. ) arctan(
TotalX
TotalY
L
· α = Angle subtended by the spiral’s chord to the tangent before
P = shift of the curve = AE – BE
55. ) cos 1 (
s
R TotalY P ∆ − − · ∴
56.
s
R TotalX K ∆ − · sin (= TA. This is also called as spiral/transition extension)
Total (extended) tangent = TV = TA + AV
57. Tangent (extended) length = TV = K P R +
∆
+
2
tan ) (
In the above equation we used total deflection angle
P* TAN/2 is also called as shift increment;
58. Long Tangent = TD1 =
s
cot * TotalY  TotalX ∆
59. Short Tangent = DD1 =
s
ec TotalY ∆ cos *
Some cool stuff:  What is the length of spiral by shifted curve PC point. Is curve
length TC = curve length CD.
1.7 1.7 Sine Hal fWavel ength Di minishing Tangent Curve Sine Hal fWavel ength Di minishing Tangent Curve
This form of equation is as explained by the Japanese requirement document. On investigating
the equations given by Japanese partners, it is found that this curve is an approximation of
“Cosinusoidal curve” and is valid for low deflection angles.
Equation given in the above said document is { ¦
]
]
]
− − · π
π
a
a
R
X
y cos 1
2
1
4
2
2 2
where
X
x
a ·
and x is distance from start to any point on the curve and is measured along the (extended)
initial tangent; X is the total X at the end of transition curve.
1.7.1 Key Parameters
Substituting a value in the above equation we get
60.
]
]
]
¹
'
¹
¹
'
¹
,
`
.

− − ·
X
x X x
R
y
π
π
cos 1
2 4
1
2
2 2
Suppose if we assume a parameter
ψ
(in radians) as a function of x
61. as in
X
x * π
ψ ·
62.
X dx
d π ψ
· ∴ and
π
ψ
X
d dx · ·
then equation 69 can be rearranged as:
63. ( )
]
]
]
− − · ψ
ψ
π
cos 1
2 2
2
2
2
R
X
y
Derivation of y with respect to x is
[ ] [ ] ψ ψ
π
π
ψ ψ
π
ψ
ψ
sin
2
* sin
2
*
2
2
− · − · ·
R
X
X R
X
dx
d
d
dy
dx
dy
64. [ ] ψ ψ
π
sin
2
− ·
R
X
dx
dy
But we know that [ ] ψ ψ
π
θ sin
2
tan − · ·
R
X
dx
dy
, where is deflection angle of the curve w.r.t
initial tangent.
At full length of transition x = X and hence = . And = s (total deflection angle of
curve)
65. [ ]
R
X
R
X
s
2 2
tan · · ∆ ∴ π
π
Rewriting 73 using above equation we get
]
]
]
− ∆ · · ψ
π
ψ θ sin
1
* tan tan
s
dx
dy
Hence the name “sine halfwavelength diminishing tangent”.
1.7. 2 Curvat ure and Radi us of Curvature
Curvature at any point on a curve is inversely proportional to radius at that point. Curvature is
typically expressed as
dl
d
r
Curvature
θ
· ·
1
In Cartesian coordinates we can express the same as
66.
2 / 3
2
2
2
1
1
]
]
]
]
,
`
.

+
· ·
dx
dy
dx
y d
dl
d
r
θ
Differentiating equation 73 with respect to x again, we get
[ ] [ ] ψ
π
ψ
π
ψ
ψ
cos 1
2
1
* cos 1
2
*
2
2
− · − ·
]
]
]
·
]
]
]
·
R X R
X
dx
d
dx
dy
d
d
dx
dy
dx
d
dx
y d
67.
[ ] ψ cos 1
2
1
2
2
− ·
R dx
y d
substituting equations 76 and 73 in to 75 we get
68.
[ ]
[ ]
2 / 3
2
sin
2
1
cos 1
2
1
1
]
]
]
]
,
`
.

− +
−
· ·
ψ ψ
π
ψ
θ
R
X
R
dl
d
r
Suppose Rs is the radius of curve at x = X (where it meets simple circular curve);
at x = X,
ψ
becomes . Substituting these in equation 77 we get
[ ]
[ ]
2 / 3
2
2 / 3
2
2
1
1
0
2
1
) 1 ( 1
2
1
1 1
]
]
]
]
,
`
.

+
·
]
]
]
]
,
`
.

− +
− −
· ·
·
R
X
R
R
X
R
R r
s X x
π
π
69.
2 / 3
2
2
1 *
]
]
]
]
,
`
.

+ ·
R
X
R R
s
So far we haven’t made any approximations and this equation of Rs is very
accurate for the curve given – Chakri 01/25/04
However purpose of a transition is to gradually introduce (or change) curvature along
horizontal alignment, and curvature of this transition curve at the point where it meets the
circular curve should be equal to that of circular curve. It is obvious from the above equation
(no. 78) that R R
s
> , unless 1
2
2
<<<
,
`
.

R
X
, in other wards X<<2R.
Thus this curve function will be a good transition, only if spiral is small (compared to radius)
or for large radii for circular curves or when the deflection is for the spiral is too small.
This warrants to the assumption that
0 tan → ·
dx
dy
θ and 0 tan
2
2
≅
]
]
]
·
dx
dy
θ
substituting above expression in to equation 75 we get
70.
( ) [ ]
2
2
2 / 3
2
2
2
0 1
1
dx
y d
dx
y d
dl
d
r
·
+
· ·
θ
ψ cos 1
2 1
2
2
−
· · ∴
R
dx
y d
r
71.
ψ cos 1
2
−
· ∴
R
r
1.7. 3 Expressi on for Def l ecti on
From equation 79 we know that
( ) ψ
θ
cos 1
2
1 1
2
2
− · · ·
R dx
y d
dl
d
r
When 0 tan → ·
dx
dy
θ and 0 tan
2
2
≅
]
]
]
·
dx
dy
θ , it is safe to assume that
L
l
X
x
·
This assumption is more accurate than cos ( ) =1, where X = L. In the current
assumption, X stays less that the spiral length.
72.
L
l
X
x * * π π
ψ · · ∴ and
73. ψ
π
d
L
dl · ∴
using them with equation 79
( ) ψ
θ
cos 1
2
1
− ·
R dl
d
( ) ( ) ψ
π
ψ ψ θ d
L
R
dl
R
d * cos 1
2
1
* cos 1
2
1
− · − ·
Integrating both sides we get
( ) ( ) C
R
L
d
R
L
+ − · − ·
∫
ψ ψ
π
ψ ψ
π
θ sin
2
cos 1
2
when l=0, =0, = 0 and substituting them in above equation we get C = 0.
74. ( ) ψ ψ
π
θ sin
2
− · ∴
R
L
or
,
`
.

− · ∴
L
l L
l
R
*
sin
2
1 π
π
θ or
,
`
.

− · ∴
X
x L
l
R
*
sin
2
1 π
π
θ
1.7. 4 Total X deri vati on
By carefully examining the equation 83, it is evident that sine halfwavelength diminishing
tangent curve deflection expression is very same as Cosinusoidal curve.
Hence we can conclude that the “Total X” of this curve is similar to one in equation 55.
2
3
2
3
2
2
0226689447 . 0
*
48
9 2
R
L
L X
R
L
L X TotalX
− ·
,
`
.
 −
− · ·
π
π
1.7. 5 Total Y Deri vati on
To start with this curve is expressed
]
]
]
¹
'
¹
¹
'
¹
,
`
.

− − ·
X
x X x
R
y
π
π
cos 1
2 4
1
2
2 2
At the full length of the spiral > l = L; x = X and y = Y
{ ¦
]
]
]
− − − ·
]
]
]
¹
'
¹
¹
'
¹
,
`
.

− − · · ∴ ) 1 ( 1
2
1
4
1
cos 1
2 4
1
2
2
2
2 2
π
π
π R
X
X
X X X
R
Y TotalY
R
X
Y
R
X
Y TotalY
2
2
2
5766 1486788163 . 0
*
1
4
1
·
]
]
]
− · ·
π
1.7. 6 Other I mport ant Parameters
At l = L (full length of transition); becomes spiral angle = s. Substituting l=L in equation
20 we get:
75.
R
L
s
2
· ∆ (deflection between tangent before and tangent after, of the transition curve)
But from equation 73 we know
R
X
s
2
tan · ∆ . So
R
X
s
2
arctan · ∆
76. ) arctan(
x
y
l
· α = Polar deflection angle (at a distance l along the transition)
77.
R
X
TotalX
TotalY
L
5766 1486788163 . 0 ) arctan( · · α = Angle subtended by the spiral’s chord
to the tangent before
P = shift of the curve = AE – BE
78. ) cos 1 (
s
R TotalY P ∆ − − · ∴
79.
s
R TotalX K ∆ − · sin (= TA. This is also called as spiral/transition extension)
Total (extended) tangent = TV = TA + AV
80. Tangent (extended) length = TV = K P R +
∆
+
2
tan ) (
In the above equation we used total deflection angle
P* TAN/2 is also called as shift increment;
81. Long Tangent = TD1 =
s
cot * TotalY  TotalX ∆
82. Short Tangent = DD1 =
s
ec TotalY ∆ cos *
1.8 1.8 BLOSS Curve BLOSS Curve
Dr Ing., BLOSS has proposed, instead of using the Clothoid the parabola of 5
t h
degrees as a
transition to use. This has the advantage visàvis the Clothoid that the shift P is smaller and
therefore longer transition, with a larger spiral extension (K). This is an important factor in the
reconstruction of track, if the stretch speed is supposed to be increased. Moreover this is more
favorable from a load dynamic point of view if superelevation ramp arises.
1.8.1 Key Parameters
Following is the equation for deflection angle as a function of transition curve
83.
3
4
2
3
2RL
l
RL
l
− · θ
Hence the curvature equation can be written as:
84.
3
3
2
2
2 3 1
RL
l
RL
l
dl
d
k
r
− · · ·
θ
85.
[ ]
3 2
3
2 3 l Ll
RL
r
−
· ∴ is the equation for radius at any point along the curve where length to
that point from start is l.
1.8. 2 Total X Deri vati on
θ cos dl dx ·
86.
∫
· dl x * cos θ , where
3
4
2
3
2RL
l
RL
l
− · θ
using Taylor’s series for θ cos integrating – and substituting l = L we get
87.
4
5
2
3
63 . 3696 8261 . 43 R
L
R
L
L TotalX X + − · ·
1.8. 3 Total Y Deri vati on
θ sin dl dx ·
88.
∫
· dl y * sin θ , where
3
4
2
3
2RL
l
RL
l
− · θ
using Taylor’s series for θ sin integrating it we get
]
]
]
+ − + − − ·
9
13
8
12
7
11
6
10
3
5
2
4
624 96 44 60 10 4 RL
l
RL
l
RL
l
RL
l
RL
l
RL
l
y
and substituting l = L we get
89.
3
4 2
175 . 363 20
3
R
L
R
L
TotalY Y − · ·
1.8. 4 Other I mport ant Parameters
At l = L (full length of transition); becomes spiral angle = s. Substituting l=L in equation
92 we get:
90.
R
L
s
2
· ∆ (deflection between tangent before and tangent after, of the transition curve)
91. ) arctan(
x
y
l
· α = Polar deflection angle (at a distance l along the transition)
92. ) arctan(
TotalX
TotalY
L
· α = Angle subtended by the spiral’s chord to the tangent before
P = shift of the curve = AE – BE
93.
3
4 2
58 . 6696 40
) cos 1 (
R
L
R
L
R TotalY P
s
− · ∆ − − · ∴
94.
s
R TotalX K ∆ − · sin (= TA. This is also called as spiral/transition extension)
4
5
2
3
99010 504 2 R
L
R
L L
K + − · ∴
Total (extended) tangent = TV = TA + AV
95. Tangent (extended) length = TV = K P R +
∆
+
2
tan ) (
In the above equation we used total deflection angle
P* TAN/2 is also called as shift increment;
96. Long Tangent = TD1 =
s
cot * TotalY  TotalX ∆
97. Short Tangent = DD1 =
s
ec TotalY ∆ cos *
Some cool stuff:  What is the length of spiral by shifted curve PC point. Is curve
length TC = curve length CD.
1.9 1.9 Lemniscates Curve Lemniscates Curve
This curve is used in road works where it is required to have the curve transitional throughout
having no intermediate circular curve. Since the curve is symmetrical and transitional,
superelevation increases till apex reached. It is preferred over spiral for following reasons:
• Its radius of curvature decreases more gradually
• The rate of increase of curvature diminishes towards the transition curve – thus fulfilling the
essential condition
• It corresponds to an autogenous curve of an automobile
For lemniscates, deviation angle is exactly three times to the polar deflection
angle.
1.10 1.10 Quadratic spirals Quadratic spirals
If l > L/2, then
Following is the equation for the quadratic curve
( )
2
3 3
6
4 2
RL
l l L + −
· θ
Differentiating with l we get equation for 1/r, where r is the radius of curvature at any given
point.
( )
2 2
2
2 l L L
RL
r
− −
· ∴
Else
Following is the equation for the quadratic curve
2
3
3
2
RL
l
· θ
Differentiating with l we get equation for 1/r, where r is the radius of curvature at any given
point.
2
2
2l
RL
r · ∴
Index
1 Transition curves in Road Design ....................................................................................................1 1.1.1 Transition curves ..................................................................................................................3 1.1.2 Superelevation ......................................................................................................................3 1.1.2.1 Method of maximum friction ........................................................................................3 1.1.2.2 Method of maximum superelevation ..........................................................................4 1.1.3 Length of Transition Curve .................................................................................................4 1.2 Clothoid ..........................................................................................................................................5 1.2.1 Clothoid geometry .................................................................................................................8 1.2.2 Expressions for various spiral parameters ......................................................................9 1.2.3 Clothoids in different situations .......................................................................................11 1.2.4 Staking out Northing and Easting values for Clothoid .................................................12 1.3 Cubic Spirals ..............................................................................................................................13 1.3.1 Relationships between various parameters ..................................................................13 1.4 Cubic Parabola ...........................................................................................................................14 1.4.1 Minimum Radius of Cubic Parabola ................................................................................15 1.5 Sinusoidal Curves ......................................................................................................................15 1.5.1 Key Parameters ..................................................................................................................16 1.5.2 Total X Derivation ..............................................................................................................16 1.5.3 Total Y Derivation ...............................................................................................................17 1.5.4 Other Important Parameters .............................................................................................17 1.6 Cosinusoidal Curves .................................................................................................................18 1.6.1 Key Parameters ..................................................................................................................19 1.6.2 Total X Derivation ...............................................................................................................19 1.6.3 Total Y Derivation ...............................................................................................................20 1.6.4 Other Important Parameters .............................................................................................21 1.7 Sine HalfWavelength Diminishing Tangent Curve .............................................................22 1.7.1 Key Parameters ..................................................................................................................22 1.7.2 Curvature and Radius of Curvature ................................................................................23 1.7.3 Expression for Deflection .................................................................................................25 1.7.4 Total X derivation ...............................................................................................................26 1.7.5 Total Y Derivation ...............................................................................................................26 1.7.6 Other Important Parameters .............................................................................................27 1.8 BLOSS Curve .............................................................................................................................27 1.8.1 Key Parameters ..................................................................................................................28 1.8.2 Total X Derivation ..............................................................................................................28 1.8.3 Total Y Derivation ..............................................................................................................28 1.8.4 Other Important Parameters .............................................................................................29 1.9 Lemniscates Curve ....................................................................................................................30 1.10 Quadratic spirals ......................................................................................................................30
1.1.1
Transi ti on c u rv e s Primary functions of a transition curves (or easement curves) are: • To accomplish gradual transition from the straight to circular curve, so that curvature changes from zero to a finite value. • To provide a medium for gradual introduction or change of required superelevation. • To changing curvature in compound and reverse curve cases, so that gradual change of curvature introduced from curve to curve. To call a spiral between a straight and curve as valid transition curve, it has to satisfy the following conditions. • One end of the spiral should be tangential to the straight. • The other end should be tangential to the curve. • Spiral’s curvature at the intersection point with the circular arc should be equal to arc curvature. • Also at the tangent its curvature should be zero. • The rate of change of curvature along the transition should be same as that of the increase of cant. • Its length should be such that full cant is attained at the beginning of circular arc.
1.1.2
S upe r e lev ati on There are two methods of determining the need for superelevation.
1.1.2.1
Me thod of ma x im um fr i c ti on
In this method, we find the value of radius above which we don’t need superelevation needs to be provided. That is given by the following equation.
Wv 2 = fW gR v2 fg
∴ = R
If the radius provided is less than the above value… that has to be compensated by
v2 (tan θ + f ) = gR (1 − f tan θ) 1.1 cm per n meters By time rate (tr): L= ev tr tr – time rate in cm/sec By rate of change of radial acceleration: An acceptable value of rate of change of centrifugal acceleration is 1 ft/sec**2/sec or (0.in centimeters n . until which user doesn’t find any discomfort.1.2.3 Le ngth of Trans it i on Cu r ve Typically minimum length of transition curve is equal to the length of along which superelevation is distributed.3m/sec**2/sec). Based on this: L= v3 αR – rate of change of radial acceleration in m/sec**3 .1.2 Me thod of ma x im um s upe r e lev ati on In this method – we just assume that there is no friction factor contributing and hence make sure that swaying due to the curvature is contained by the cant. then L = nE E . R= v2 g tan θ 1. If the rate at which superelevation introduced (rate of change of superelevation) is 1 in n.
the length of the transition negotiated too is directly proportional to the time. F ∝ t Centrifugal force at any radius r is given by: F= Wv 2 ∝t gr Assuming that the speed of the vehicle that is negotiating the curve is constant. lr = LR 1 l = r LR As 1/r is nothing but the curvature at that point.2 Clothoid An ideal transition curve is that which introduces centrifugal force at a gradual rate (by time t). the fundamental requirement of a transition curve is that its radius is of curvature at any given point shall vary inversely as the distance from the beginning of the spiral. l t So. So. curvature equation can be written as: dθ 1 l = = dl r LR dθ = l dl LR Integrating. we get θ= l2 +C 2 RL . Such a curve is called clothoid of Glover’s spiral and is known as an ideal transition. l 1/r ∴lr = const = Ls Rc Thus.1.
. Curvature = dθ l = dl LR (A function of d2y ) dx 2 Differentiating both sides with respect to l.Where is the deflection angle from the tangent (at a point on spiral length l) At l = 0. we get C = 0 Hence the intrinsic equation of the ideal transition curve is: θ= dy l2 (In Cartesian coordinates. = 0 Substituting these. if we examine the curvature equation it is evident that rate of change of curvature is constant. we get Rate of change of curvature = d3y d 2θ 1 ) = = Const (also expressed as dy 3 LR dl 2 Following illustration gives example of a SCS curve fit between two straights. slope can be expressed as ) dx 2 RL Also the total deflection angle subtended by transition curve of length L and radius R at the other end is given by: s = L/2R (a circular arc of same length would change the direction by L/R) Further.
.
LDT terms L1 PI TS SC i1 T1 In the figure TCD V T D s1 TV Description Length of the spiral – from TS to SC Point of horizontal intersection point (HIP) Point where spiral starts Point where spiral ends and circular curve begins Spiral angle (or) Deflection angle between tangent TV tangential direction at the end of spiral. Spiral before curve (points TCD) is of length 175 meters and spiral after the curve is of 125 meters. Total (extended) tangent length from TS to PI . Following are the key parameters that explain this geometry.2.1.1 Cl othoi d ge om e t r y Details of an SCS fitting are presented in the following figure.
• D is the SC point • DD1 is the tangent at SC • DD2 is a perpendicular line to the actual (extended) tangent. .X1 Y1 P1 K1 Total X = TD2 Total Y = D2D AB TA B Tangent distance at SC from TS Offset distance at SC from (tangent at) TS The offset of initial tangent in to the PC of shifted curve (shift of the circular curve) Abscissa of the shifted curve PC referred to TS (or tangent distance at shifted PC from TS) Sifted curve’s PC Long tangent of spiral in Short tangent of spiral in Center point of circular curve Angle subtended by circular curve in radians Total deflection angle between the two tangents Radius of the circular curve LT1 ST1 RP c R TD1 DD1 O c R Similarly are the parameters for the second curve.2 . Also note the following points that further helps in understanding the figure shown above. • And similarly for the spiral out. • So OB is equal to R of circular curve and OA is collinear to OB and perpendicular to the actual tangent. • Line passing through TV is the first tangent • V is the actual HIP • Actual circular curve in the alignments is between D and CS • The dotted arc (in blue colour) is extension of the circular arc • The dotted straight BV1 (in blue colour parallel to the original tangent) is tangential line to the shifted arc. • B is the shifted curve’s PC point. 1. Following are spiral parameters expressed in terms of these two.2 E xpr es s io ns for var i ous s pi r a l pa r a m ete r s Two most commonly used parameters by engineers in designing and setting out a spiral are L (spiral length) and R (radius of circular curve).
. = s1+ c+ s2 (where c is the angle subtended by the circular arc).] 6 RL 56 R 2 L2 7040 R 4 L4 At l = L (full length of transition) 6. Flatness of spiral = A = LR 2... TotalY = 7. TotalX = L * [1 − L2 L4 + − . This is also called as spiral extension) Total (extended) tangent = TV = TA + AV 10... Spiral deflection angle(from initial tangent) at a length l (along spira)l = 3. x = l * [1 − l4 l8 + − . ∴P = TotalY − R (1 − cos ∆s ) 9. K = Total X – R*SIN s (= TA. ∆s = l2 2 RL L = Spiral angle (subtended by full length) 2R 4.] 40 R 2 3456 R 4 y= l3 l4 l8 [1 − + − . α = tan −1 ( ) ≅ L2 L2 L4 [1 − + − ....] 40 R 2 L2 3456 R 4 L4 At l = L (full length of transition) 5.Tangent (extended) length = TV = ( R + P ) tan ∆ +K 2 In the above equation we used total deflection angle P* TAN /2 is also called as shift increment..] 6R 56 R 2 7040 R 4 y θ x 3 = Polar deflection angle P = shift of the curve = AE – BE 8.1.
Besides the parameters explained in section 2. 1. • For unequal A1 and A2 (for R1 > R2) .At shifted curve PC point length of spiral gets bisected.2 (for each of the spirals) following conditions are usually observed.2.3 Cl othoi ds i n di f fe r e nt si tua ti ons Simple Clothoid Simple clothoid is the one which is fit between a straight section and a circular curve for smooth transition.11.A1 ≤1. • They are not allowed to intersect with each other and should not be concentric. Also typically this should be the point at which flat surface (cross section) happens. Conditions for successful eggshaped curve are: • Smaller circular curve must be on the inside of the larger circular curve.Long Tangent = TD1 = (Total X) – (Total Y)*COT s 12. Key parameters are explained in section 2. but with two different radii. . In the geometry an SS (spiralspiral) point is noticed with ZERO curvature.2.5 A2 • For the symmetrical reversing clothoid – The common Clothoid parameter can be approximated by: AR = 4 24 dR R 3 Where d is the distance between two circular curves d = C C 1 − R1 − R 2 and surrogate radius RR = R1 R2 R1 + R2 Eggshaped Clothoid This is fit between two curves of same direction.Short Tangent = DD1 = (Total Y) *(COSEC s) Some cool stuff:.2 . This curve length TC = curve length CD.2 Reversing Clothoid This consists of two Clothoids with opposing curvatures and is generally fit between two curves of opposite direction.
∆ is change in the northing from TS to arbitrary point on spiral. • d is the length of the spiral chord from TS to point any point on the spiral. E) values of any arbitrary point on the spiral. we could get various points on the spiral.2. and negative if the spiral is left hand side).The eggshaped spiral parameter can be approximated to: 3 AE = 4 24 dR E Where d is the distance between two circular curves d = R1 − R 2 −C1C 2 and surrogate radius RE = R1 R2 R1 − R2 1. Suppose • l is the length of the spiral (from TS) at any arbitrary point on spiral • L is the total length of the spiral • R is the radius of circular curve (at the end of the spiral).] (Preapproximation equations see section 2. we know that l = S l − STS Knowing the value of l x = l * [1 − l4 l8 + − . N TS is northing (or y value) of the spiral start point TS in Cartesian coordinate system. Using these we could extract (N.2) 40 R 2 L2 3456 R 4 L4 . N TS is northing (or y value) of arbitrary point on the spiral (at length l). S TS is the station value of the alignment at TS From above information. northing (N) and easting (E) values of the TS point.. • • S l is the station value of the alignment at that arbitrary point. El is easting (or x value) of arbitrary point on the spiral (at length l).4 S t ak i ng out N o r t hi ng a nd Ea st ing va lue s for Cloth oid We know station.1 and 2. N • is the angle between East (X) axis and the tangent measured counterclockwise • is the angle subtended at TS by extended tangent and the chord connecting TS and arbitrary point on spiral (is positive if the spiral is right hand side. ∆E is change in the easting from TS to arbitrary point on spiral.2. Also from the equations given in the Sections 2.2. • • • • • • ETS is easting (or x value) of the spiral start point TS in Cartesian coordinate system.2..2 .
y= l3 l4 l8 [1 − + − .2) 6 RL 56 R 2 L2 7040 R 4 L4 Once x and y are known α = tan −1 ( ) β 1 = β −α = Angle subtended by chord (from TS to the point on spiral) with respect to X axis (measured counterclockwise) Also length of the chord = d = x 2 + y 2 With these we can compute ∆ = d cos β1 E y x ∆N = d sin β1 Given this ( N l . 13. El ) = ( N TS + ∆N ..2. then dy/dl = sin = = l**2/2RL On integrating and applying boundary conditions we get.1 Re l at ion shi ps bet wee n var iou s pa r am e te rs .3.] (Preapproximation equations see section 2.. If we assume that sin = .3 Cubic Spirals This is first order approximation to the clothoid. 1.E) values at regular intervals (say 50 m) along the spiral we can compute them using the above set of equations. y = 14. ETS + ∆E ) If we need (N. α = l3 6 RL θ l2 = 3 6R 1.
TotalY = tanα = y x L2 6R 17. P. then 18. Those which are different from clothoid are: There is no difference in x and Total X values.x = l and ∴TotalX = L ..] 40 R 2 3456 R 4 y= l3 6 RL At l = L (full length of transition) 16. then x = l. as we haven’t assumed anything about cos . TotalX = L * [1 − L2 L4 + − .. L x = ∫ cos( 0 l2 ) dl 2 L2 R 2 x = l * [1 − l4 l8 + − .Length along Curve or along chord (10 equal chords)? 1..4 Cubic Parabola If we assume that cos = 1.Most of the parameters (Like A..] 40 R 2 L2 3456 R 4 L4 At l = L (full length of transition) 15. Further if we assume that sin = . K Etc…) for cubic spiral are similar to clothoid. α≅ θ −δ 3 = Polar deflection angle Up to 15 degrees of deflection .
Following is the equation for the sinusoidal curve 20. y = x3 L2 and ∴ TotalY = 6 RL 6R Cosine series is less rapidly converging than sine series. 5 min. cubic parabolas are more popular due to the fact that they are easy to set out in the field as it is expressed in Cartesian coordinates. because they are very easy to set. However.4.39 RL at 24 degrees. 1.5 Sinusoidal Curves These curves represent a consistent course of curvature and are applicable to transition between 0 to 90 degrees of tangent deflections. This makes cubic parabola useless for deflections greater than 24 degrees. 1. Rest all other parameters are same as clothoid. Despite these are less accurate than cubic spirals. However these are not popular as they are difficult to tabulate and stake out. This leads to the conclusion that Cubic parabola is inferior to cubic spiral. these curves are preferred by highway and railway engineers.1 Mi ni m um Ra diu s o f Cub ic Pa r a bol a Radius at any point on cubic parabola is r = A cubic parabola attains minimum r at tan θ = So. 41 sec and from there onwards it starts increasing again.19. The curve is steeper than the true spiral. θ = l2 L 2πl + 2 cos −1 2 RL 4π R L .39 RL 2 sin θ cos 5 θ 1 5 RL So cubic parabola radius decreases from infinity to rmin =1. rmin =1.
Differentiating with l we get equation for 1/r. Following are spiral parameters expressed in terms of these two.Rate of change of curvature = d 2θ 1 1 2π = − cos 2 dl L LR LR Unlike clothoid spirals.2 Total X De riva ti on dx = dl cos θ . 23. and dl*sin .1 Key Pa ra me te r s Radius equation is derived from the fact that 2πl 2πl − L * sin dθ 1 L = = dl r 2πLR If we further differentiate this curvature again w.5 . where r is the radius of curvature at any given point.5. ∆s = l2 L 2πl + 2 cos −1 2 RL 4π R L L = Spiral angle [subtended by full length (or) l = L] 2R = s1+ c+ s2 (where c is the angle subtended by the circular arc). 1. 21.Spiral angle at a length l along the spiral = θ = 24. this “rate of change of curvature” is not constant in Sinusoidal curves. Thus these “transition curves” are NOT true spirals – Chakri 01/20/04 Two most commonly used parameters by engineers in designing and setting out a “transition curve are L (spiral length) and R (radius of circular curve).t length of curve we get 22. 1.r. ∴r = 2πl 2πl − L * SIN L 2πLR X and Y values are calculated dl*cos .
where l2 L 2πl θ= + 2 cos −1 2 RL 4π R L To simplify the problem let us make following subfunctions: 26.4 O the r I m po r t a nt P ar a m ete r s .0026731818 162654 3 R R 1.5 . x=X and = .If ψ = 2π * l L 27. where θ= l2 L 2πl + 2 cos −1 2 RL 4π R L 30.5 .1413363707 560822 − 0. y = ∫ dl sin θ . L2 L3 ∴ x = l 1 − − 3ψ 5 − 20ψ 3 + 30ψ − 240 − 60ψ 2 sin ψ + 30 cos ψ sin ψ + 120ψ * cos ψ 4 2 5 2 32π R 3840 π R [ ( ) ] At l = L (full length of transition).3 Total Y De riva ti on dy = dl sin θ 29.25. 1 1 L 1 1 5 209 L3 TotalY = Y = L − − + − * − * 2 2 128π 4 3072 π 6 R 3 6 4π R 336 160 π L L3 X = L 0. Substituting these in above equation we 96π 4 − 160 π 2 + 420 L2 TotalX = X = L 1 − * 2 3840 π 4 R 28.0219011258 2400869 2 R 1. x = ∫ dl cos θ . 3 L X = L − 0.
37. αl = arctan( 33.Short Tangent = DD1 = TotalY * cos ec ∆s Some cool stuff: .6 Cosinusoidal Curves Following is the equation for the Cosinusoidal curve 39.Tangent (extended) length = TV = ( R + P ) tan ∆ +K 2 In the above equation we used total deflection angle P* TAN /2 is also called as shift increment.What is the length of spiral by shifted curve PC point. ∴P = TotalY − R (1 − cos ∆s ) 35. αL = arctan( TotalY ) = Angle subtended by the spiral’s chord to the tangent before TotalX P = shift of the curve = AE – BE 34. θ= 1 L πl l − π * sin L 2R Differentiating with l we get equation for 1/r. K = TotalX − R sin ∆s (= TA. becomes spiral angle = s.At l = L (full length of transition). Is curve length TC = curve length CD. 1. .Long Tangent = TD1 = TotalX . of the transition curve) 2R y ) = Polar deflection angle (at a distance l along the transition) x 32. Substituting l=L in equation 20 we get: 31. where r is the radius of curvature at any given point. ∆s = L (deflection between tangent before and tangent after. This is also called as spiral/transition extension) Total (extended) tangent = TV = TA + AV 36.TotalY * cot ∆s 38.
Spiral angle at a length l along the spiral = θ = 43.r.6. 42. this “rate of change of curvature” is not constant in Cosinusoidal curves.40. x = ∫cos θ To simplify the problem let us make following subfunctions: . 1.1 Key Pa ra me te r s Previous equation is derived from the fact that dθ 1 = = dl r πl 1 − cos L 2R If we further differentiate this curvature again w.6 . Thus these “transition curves” are NOT true spirals Two most commonly used parameters by engineers in designing and setting out a “transition curve are L (spiral length) and R (radius of circular curve).t length of curve we get 41. ∴r = 2R πl 1 − cos L 1.Rate of change of curvature = d 2θ π πl = sin 2 dl 2 RL L Unlike clothoid spirals.2 Total X De riva ti on dx = dl cos θ dl 45. ∆s = 1 L πl l − π * sin L 2R L = Spiral angle [subtended by full length (or) l = L] 2R 44. Following are spiral parameters expressed in terms of these two. = s1+ c+ s2 (where c is the angle subtended by the circular arc).
43 we have θ = L πl πl L − sin L 2πR 49.3 Total Y De riva ti on dy = dl sin θ From eqn. L3 X = L − 0. x=X and = .From eqn.If ψ = π *l L 50.0226689447 2 R 1. L ψ2 ψ 4 sin 2 ψ * cos ψ 16 cos ψ 3ψ 2 L3 ∴ y = L* 2 ( + cos ψ − 1) − + − + 3ψ 2 cos ψ − 6ψ sin ψ + − 3 3 4 2π R 2 48π 4 R 3 4 At l = L (full length of transition). x=X and = . x =l − At l = L (full length of transition). Substituting these in above equation we get: .If ψ = π *l L L2 L ψ 3 ψ sin ψ * cosψ + − * 8π 2 R 2 π 3 2 2 − 2( sin ψ −ψ cosψ ) 47. 43 we get > θ = L πl πl L − sin L 2πR 46.6 . Substituting these in above equation we get: 2π 2 − 9 L3 TotalX = X = L − 48π 2 * R 2 48.
Tangent (extended) length = TV = ( R + P ) tan ∆ +K 2 In the above equation we used total deflection angle P* TAN /2 is also called as shift increment. 58. αl = arctan( 54. Is curve length TC = curve length CD.6 . ∴P = TotalY − R (1 − cos ∆s ) 56. K = TotalX − R sin ∆s (= TA. of the transition curve) 2R 53.Long Tangent = TD1 = TotalX .TotalY * cot ∆s 59. . αL = arctan( y ) = Polar deflection angle (at a distance l along the transition) x TotalY ) = Angle subtended by the spiral’s chord to the tangent before TotalX P = shift of the curve = AE – BE 55.Short Tangent = DD1 = TotalY * cos ec ∆s Some cool stuff: .0027402322 400286 ) * 3 R R 1. becomes spiral angle = s. 1 1 TotalY = Y = L − 2 4 π 4 2 L 6π − 54π + 256 * − 1152 π 4 R L3 * 3 R L L3 Y = L * 0. This is also called as spiral/transition extension) Total (extended) tangent = TV = TA + AV 57.4 O the r I m po r t a nt P ar a m ete r s At l = L (full length of transition).What is the length of spiral by shifted curve PC point.51. Substituting l=L in equation 20 we get: 52.1486788163 576622 − ( 0. ∆s = L (deflection between tangent before and tangent after.
On investigating the equations given by Japanese partners. X is the total X at the end of transition curve. y = X 2 ψ 2 2 − (1 − cos ψ ) 2 2π R Derivation of y with respect to x is dy dy dψ X2 = * = [ψ − sin ψ ] * π = X [ψ − sin ψ ] 2 dx dψ dx 2π R X 2πR dy X = [ψ − sin ψ ] dx 2πR 64. 1. ∴ dψ X = and dx = dψ = dx X π π*x X π then equation 69 can be rearranged as: 63.1 Key Pa ra me te r s Substituting a value in the above equation we get 60.7. y = 1 x2 X 2 − R 4 2π 2 πx 1 − cos X Suppose if we assume a parameter ψ (in radians) as a function of x 61. it is found that this curve is an approximation of “Cosinusoidal curve” and is valid for low deflection angles. Equation given in the above said document is y = X 2 a2 1 {1 − cos aπ } where a = x − 2 R 4 2π X and x is distance from start to any point on the curve and is measured along the (extended) initial tangent.as in ψ = 62.1. .7 Sine HalfWavelength Diminishing Tangent Curve This form of equation is as explained by the Japanese requirement document.
7.t dx 2πR At full length of transition x = X and hence = . dy X = [ψ − sin ψ ] . r 2 3/ 2 dl dy 1 + dx Differentiating equation 73 with respect to x again. d2y 1 = [1 − cos ψ ] 2 2R dx . And = s (total deflection angle of curve) 65. ∴ tan ∆s = X [π ] = X 2πR 2R Rewriting 73 using above equation we get tan θ = dy 1 = tan ∆ s * ψ − sin ψ dx π Hence the name “sine halfwavelength diminishing tangent”.But we know that tan θ = initial tangent. 1. where is deflection angle of the curve w.r.2 Cu r v at ur e a nd Ra diu s o f Cu r va tu r e Curvature at any point on a curve is inversely proportional to radius at that point. Curvature is typically expressed as Curvature = 1 dθ = r dl In Cartesian coordinates we can express the same as 1 dθ = = 66. we get d2y dx 2 d2y d dy d dy dψ X π 1 = 2 dx = dψ dx * dx = 2πR [1 − cos ψ ] * X = 2 R [1 − cos ψ ] dx dx 67.
1 dθ dx 2 = = r dl 1 + ( 0) 2 [ ] 3/ 2 = d2y dx 2 . 78) that Rs > R . unless X < < < 1 . and curvature of this transition curve at the point where it meets the circular curve should be equal to that of circular curve. only if spiral is small (compared to radius) or for large radii for circular curves or when the deflection is for the spiral is too small. It is obvious from the above equation (no. 2R 2 Thus this curve function will be a good transition. at x = X. This warrants to the assumption that tan θ = 2 dy dy → 0 and tan 2 θ = ≅ 0 dx dx substituting above expression in to equation 75 we get d2y 70. ψ becomes .substituting equations 76 and 73 in to 75 we get 1 [1 − cosψ ] 1 dθ 2R = = 68. Rs = R * 1 + 2R So far we haven’t made any approximations and this equation of Rs is very accurate for the curve given – Chakri 01/25/04 However purpose of a transition is to gradually introduce (or change) curvature along horizontal alignment. r 2 3/ 2 dl X [ψ − sinψ ] 1 + 2πR Suppose Rs is the radius of curve at x = X (where it meets simple circular curve). in other wards X<<2R. Substituting these in equation 77 we get 1 rx= X 1 1 [1 − (−1)] 1 2R R = = = 3/ 2 2 3/ 2 Rs X 2 X [π − 0] 1 + 1 + 2πR 2R 3/ 2 X 2 69.
ψ 72. ∴dl = L π dψ using them with equation 79 dθ 1 (1 − cos ψ ) = dl 2R dθ = 1 (1 − cos ψ ) * dl = 1 (1 − cos ψ ) * L dψ 2R 2R π Integrating both sides we get θ= L L ∫ (1 − cos ψ ) dψ = 2πR (ψ − sin ψ ) + C 2πR . X stays less that the spiral length.3 E xpr es s io n for Def le c ti on From equation 79 we know that 1 dθ d 2 y 1 (1 − cosψ ) = = 2 = r dl dx 2R When tan θ = 2 dy dy → 0 and tan 2 θ = ≅ 0 . it is safe to assume that dx dx x l = X L This assumption is more accurate than cos ( ) =1. 2R ∴ = r 1 −c s ψ o 1.∴r = 1 d y dx 2 2 = 2R 1 − cos ψ 71.7. In the current assumption. where X = L. ∴ = π*x X = π *l L and 73.
1486788163 5766 R . Hence we can conclude that the “Total X” of this curve is similar to one in equation 55.5 Total Y De riva ti on To start with this curve is expressed y = 1 x2 X 2 πx − 2 1 − cos R 4 2π X At the full length of the spiral > l = L. =0. x = X and y = Y ∴TotalY = Y = 1 X2 X2 − R 4 2π 2 πX 1 − cos X 2 1 X 1 = − 2 {1 − (−1)} 4 2π R 1 X2 1 TotalY = Y = − 2 * 4 π R X2 Y = 0.4 Total X der iva tio n By carefully examining the equation 83. = 0 and substituting them in above equation we get C = 0.7. 2π 2 − 9 L3 TotalX = X = L − 48π 2 * R 2 3 L X = L − 0. it is evident that sine halfwavelength diminishing tangent curve deflection expression is very same as Cosinusoidal curve.0226689447 2 R 1.when l=0. 74. ∴θ = L (ψ − sin ψ ) 2πR 1 L π *l 1 L π*x l − sin or ∴θ = l − sin 2R π L 2R π X or ∴θ = 1.7.
81.. BLOSS has proposed. This is also called as spiral/transition extension) Total (extended) tangent = TV = TA + AV 80. with a larger spiral extension (K). So ∆s = arctan 2R 2R But from equation 73 we know tan ∆s = 76.6 O the r I m po r t a nt P ar a m ete r s At l = L (full length of transition).7.Long Tangent = TD1 = TotalX .1.Tangent (extended) length = TV = ( R + P ) tan ∆ +K 2 In the above equation we used total deflection angle P* TAN /2 is also called as shift increment. . α L = arctan( y ) = Polar deflection angle (at a distance l along the transition) x TotalY X ) = 0. This is an important factor in the reconstruction of track. instead of using the Clothoid the parabola of 5 th degrees as a transition to use. K = TotalX − R sin ∆s (= TA.TotalY * cot ∆s 82. αl = arctan( 77. ∴P = TotalY − R (1 − cos ∆s ) 79.8 BLOSS Curve Dr Ing.Short Tangent = DD1 = TotalY * cos ec ∆s 1. Moreover this is more favorable from a load dynamic point of view if superelevation ramp arises. Substituting l=L in equation 20 we get: 75. if the stretch speed is supposed to be increased.1486788163 5766 = Angle subtended by the spiral’s chord TotalX R to the tangent before P = shift of the curve = AE – BE 78. This has the advantage visàvis the Clothoid that the shift P is smaller and therefore longer transition. of the transition curve) 2R X X . ∆s = L (deflection between tangent before and tangent after. becomes spiral angle = s.
8 .1.8261 R 2 3696 . y = ∫ sin θ * dl . 1 dθ 3l 2 2l 3 =k = = 2− 3 r dl RL RL RL3 is the equation for radius at any point along the curve where length to 3Ll 2 − 2l 3 85. where θ= l3 l4 − RL2 2RL3 using Taylor’s series for cos θ integrating – and substituting l = L we get 87.2 Total X De riva ti on dx = dl cos θ 86. θ = l3 l4 − RL2 2RL3 Hence the curvature equation can be written as: 84.8 . ∴r = [ ] that point from start is l.1 Key Pa ra me te r s Following is the equation for deflection angle as a function of transition curve 83. where θ= l3 l4 − RL2 2RL3 using Taylor’s series for sin θ integrating it we get . 1. x = ∫ cos θ * dl .8. X = TotalX = L − L3 L5 + 43.63 R 4 1.3 Total Y De riva ti on dx = dl sin θ 88.
αL = arctan( TotalY ) = Angle subtended by the spiral’s chord to the tangent before TotalX P = shift of the curve = AE – BE 93. of the transition curve) 2R y ) = Polar deflection angle (at a distance l along the transition) x 91. Is curve length TC = curve length CD. Substituting l=L in equation 92 we get: 90. K = TotalX − R sin ∆s (= TA.58 R 3 94. αl = arctan( 92. ∆s = L (deflection between tangent before and tangent after.Short Tangent = DD1 = TotalY * cos ec ∆s Some cool stuff: .What is the length of spiral by shifted curve PC point.TotalY * cot ∆s 97. .Tangent (extended) length = TV = ( R + P ) tan ∆ +K 2 In the above equation we used total deflection angle P* TAN /2 is also called as shift increment. ∴ P = TotalY − R (1 − cos ∆ s ) = L2 L4 − 40 R 6696 . Y = TotalY = 3L2 L4 − 20 R 363 .Long Tangent = TD1 = TotalX . This is also called as spiral/transition extension) ∴K = L L3 L5 − + 2 504 R 2 99010 R 4 Total (extended) tangent = TV = TA + AV 95.4 O the r I m po r t a nt P ar a m ete r s At l = L (full length of transition).175 R 3 1. 96. becomes spiral angle = s.8 . l4 l5 l 10 l 11 l 12 l 13 y = − − + − + 2 10 RL3 60 RL6 44 RL7 96 RL8 624 RL9 4 RL and substituting l = L we get 89.
∴r = RL 2 2 L2 − 2( L − l ) Else Following is the equation for the quadratic curve θ= 2l 3 3RL2 Differentiating with l we get equation for 1/r.10 Quadratic spirals If l > L/2.1. deviation angle is exactly three times to the polar deflection angle. It is preferred over spiral for following reasons: • Its radius of curvature decreases more gradually • The rate of increase of curvature diminishes towards the transition curve – thus fulfilling the essential condition • It corresponds to an autogenous curve of an automobile For lemniscates. superelevation increases till apex reached. where r is the radius of curvature at any given point. where r is the radius of curvature at any given point.9 Lemniscates Curve This curve is used in road works where it is required to have the curve transitional throughout having no intermediate circular curve. Since the curve is symmetrical and transitional. RL 2 ∴r = 2 2l . 1. then Following is the equation for the quadratic curve ( L − 2l ) 3 + 4l 3 θ= 6 RL2 Differentiating with l we get equation for 1/r.
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