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Geometric Design Of Highway Vertical And Horizontal Curves Using Excel

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Innovation in the Civil Engineering Classroom

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.647.1 - 14.647.11



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Paper Authors

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Bradly McNair Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne

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Suleiman Ashur Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Geometric Design of Highway Vertical and Horizontal Curves Using Excel


This paper presents the work that was developed as a project in the first offering of the transportation engineering class at the new civil engineering program at Indiana University- Purdue University Fort Wayne. The project statement required the use of Excel in developing a program for highway geometric design; from simple curves to compound curves; both vertical and horizontal. In addition, the goal of this project was linked to ABET outcomes that address the ability of students to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints and, measure student’s ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

The paper presents the process of developing the spreadsheet step-by-step, the command used, challenges, and skills and lessons learned by the author and other student in the class. As a result, a simple and efficient spreadsheet to design vertical curves and simple and compound horizontal curves including default values was developed.

The results of the survey suggested a major improvement of students’ skills in Excel in general and in developing engineering design in particular. Major improvements were found in using functions and nested If statements. The least skills acquired were in using the Absolute and Sum commands and graphing in Excel. Most of the students either knew these commands before the class or they were familiar with them. Finally, this project enabled students to advance their knowledge of spreadsheets while learning important transportation engineering topics.

McNair, B., & Ashur, S. (2009, June), Geometric Design Of Highway Vertical And Horizontal Curves Using Excel Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5818

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