Comparison of Radius-Estimating Techniques for Horizontal Curves Conference Paper uri icon


  • Techniques to obtain horizontal curve radii were identified and tested in a controlled experimental study. Ten techniques were identified and pilot tested. Eight of those initial 10 were then used to measure 18 horizontal curves on two-lane rural highways in Texas to evaluate fully their accuracy, precision, cost, ease of use, and safety. Statistically, all eight techniques produced equivalent accuracies, but they displayed a wide range in their precision. The costs varied as a function of the number of times each technique would be used in the field, with those techniques with high initial costs becoming more cost-competitive over the long run with many uses. Ease of use was gauged on the basis of the experience gained during this research. Safety was measured on the basis of whether a technique required personnel on the roadway or roadside or whether it allowed personnel to work from an office or inside a vehicle. The recommendations were based on the expected needs of three different groups that use radii information: transportation agencies, accident investigators, and transportation researchers. Within transportation agencies, engineers and planners in the office will probably benefit most from the plan sheet method, whereas field personnel will probably benefit most from using either the advisory speed or a Global Positioning System (GPS) method. Those who estimate only occasionally, such as accident investigators, will benefit most from the compass method. Finally, researchers or others who may have difficulty accessing plan sheets but still require accurate data will benefit from using a GPS.

published proceedings

  • Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board

author list (cited authors)

  • Carlson, P., Burris, M., Black, K., & Rose, E.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Carlson, Paul||Burris, Mark||Black, Kit||Rose, Elisabeth

publication date

  • January 2005