Functional Highway Design

by Ben Burritt, RUST Environment & Infrastructure, 5343 North 16th St., Suite 400, Phoenix, AZ 85016,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1995, Vol. 65, Issue 4, Pg. 66-67

Document Type: Feature article


In the past, the common highway design development process used by government agencies has often failed to incorporate the lessons learned from operational experience and research. However, some progressive organizations have developed a creative design process structured into three phases: Concept Master Planning, Systems Planning and Functional Design, and Geometric Design. The systems planning and functional design process outlined here was developed by a giant in the highway fraternity, Jack E. Leisch. It represents a time-tested technique which has proven itself for over 20 years. It allows for the logical progression of a design development with minimum retracing of steps and allows for the design development process to logically transition from general to detailed considerations. This is done, however, in such a manner that each new step retains the character of the design established in previous steps. Once the recommended alternative has been selected and approved, the transition to geometric design and plan preparation can be immediate and smooth. This is because the design outputs from the functional design process have been tested and are sufficiently accurate in geometric detail.

Subject Headings: Highway and road design | Geometrics | Structural design | Organizations | Government | Aging (material)

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