American Society of Civil Engineers

New Form of Road/Railway Transition Curves

by Martin Lipicnik, (Assoc. Prof., Inst. for Traffic Sci., Fac. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Maribor, Smetanova 17, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia)

Journal of Transportation Engineering, Vol. 124, No. 6, November/December 1998, pp. 546-556, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Road and railway transition curves have again become the subject of important scientific research and serious traffic engineering analyses because of high driving speeds and demands for automatic drive (i.e., car pilots). This article shows, in an original way, how to define or reconstruct the track of a vehicle when passing the elements of a continuous curve (straight lines, circles) so the track (curve) suits all requirements to which transition curves must be adapted. The praxis whereby a known mathematical curve (e.g., a cubic parabola, lemniscate, or chlotoid) was assumed as a transition curve and its suitability was analyzed has been passed over. On the basis of assumed kinematics models of the motion of a vehicle along joint alignment elements with a changing radius of curvature the writers have analyzed different transition curves resulting in safe, comfortable, and economic driving. The curve resulting from a parabolic velocity chart of front wheel rotation during such movement which found the most suitable has been named POLUSA; a geometrical analysis POLUSA has been performed and a manual for practical use completed.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Highways and roads
Intelligent transportation systems
Rail transportation