American Society of Civil Engineers

Design of Track Alignment Using Building Information Modeling

by Shih-Fang Huang, (corresponding author), (Student, Dept. of Civil Engineering, National Chiao Tung Univ., No. 1001, Ta Hsueh Rd., Hsinchu 300, Taiwan, ROC. E-mail:, Chun-Sung Chen, (Professor, Dept. of Applied Geomatics, Ching Yun Univ., No. 229, Jianxing Road, Zhongli City, Taoyuan County, Taiwan, ROC. E-mail:, and Ren-Jye Dzeng, (Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, National Chiao Tung Univ., No. 1001, Ta Hsueh Rd., Hsinchu 300, Taiwan, ROC. E-mail:

Journal of Transportation Engineering, Vol. 137, No. 11, November 2011, pp. 823-830, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Section Heading: Railroad Engineering
Abstract: In recent decades, the spreadsheet and computer-aided mapping are the major tools for track alignment design. These traditional methods can meet the design criteria, but when the design factors and the change order must be satisfied at the same time, the process is always complicated and redundant. Building information modeling (BIM) is mainly applied on the generation and management of building data. It utilizes the object-oriented concept to increase the efficiency of information management in the building life cycle. The track-alignment data also have topographic relation that is similar to the building. There is a much closer relation between the topological, sharp, and position of track entities than that of the building components. This paper discusses the feasibility of applying a real-time, dynamic, three-dimensional building information model to design the alignment; compares the traditional alignment method with the BIM alignment method to find out the differences; and analyzes the precision by using alignment data of east and west main tracks of Qidu Switchyard of Taiwan Railways Administration. Moreover, the paper proves that the BIM can simplify track-alignment design, increases the abilities of computer-aided design and automation, and greatly shortens the design period.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Information management
Life cycles
Railroad tracks

Author Keywords:
Graphical user interface