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Geometric Design: Professional Practice

Minimum Radius

The following excerpt was taken from the 1994 edition of AASHTO's A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (p. 153).

The minimum radius is a limiting value of curvature for a given design speed and is determined from the maximum rate of superelevation and the maximum side friction factor selected for design (limiting value of f).

Use of sharper curvature for that design speed would call for superelevation beyond the limit considered practical or for operation with tire friction beyond what is considered comfortable by many drivers, or both. Thus, the minimum radius of curvature is a significant value in alignment design. The minimum radius of curvature is also a necessary and important control value for determination of superelevation rates for flatter curves.

The minimum radius Rmin can be calculated directly from the simplified curve formula introduced earlier under the section, "Side Friction Factor."

Rmin = V2/(127*(emax/100 + fmax))