Geometric design is an important phase in the highway design process that is directly related to traffic safety. Highway elements should be jointly designed to account for such design criteria as sight distance, vehicle stability, driver comfort, drainage, and aesthetics. Intuitively, such a design should he based on a three-dimensional (3-D) analysis. This paper reviews the current practice and research work related to each design criterion with emphasis on the conformity with the 3-D nature of the highway. Current standards are based mainly on a two-dimensional (2-D) analysis that does not guarantee a satisfactory design. Recently, several research efforts have been expended in the 3-D highway analysis with sight distance being the most researched area. Analytical models and computer software have been developed to accurately model 3-D daytime and nighttime sight distances. Roads designed using current 2-D standards may compromise safety or economy. Different models are currently available to simulate the forces acting on a vehicle in 3-D. These models show that the point-mass formula for modelling vehicle dynamics in the current standards can be inaccurate. Current standards contain recommendations for drainage of surface water, but explicit quantitative coordination of combined alignments is lacking. Furthermore, research is still needed to study the effect of alignment coordination on highway aesthetics and driver's perception of information.

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Keywords Drainage, Highway aesthetics, Highway geometric design, Sight distance, Three-dimensional analysis, Vehicle dynamics
Journal Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering
Hassan, Y, Easa, S.M. (Said M.), & Halim, A.O. (1998). State-of-the-art of three-dimensional highway geometric design. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 25(3), 500–511.