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E – 1419 – Intersection Geometric Design

Intended Audience: civil, Transportation & Traffic Engineers



Intersections are unique roadway elements where conflicting vehicle streams (and sometimes non-motorized users) share the same space. This area encompasses all modes of travel (pedestrian, bicycle, passenger vehicle, truck, and transit) as well as auxiliary lanes, medians, islands, sidewalks and pedestrian ramps. These may further heighten the accident potential and constrain the operational efficiency and network capacity of the urban street system. However, the main objective of intersection design is to facilitate the roadway user and enhance efficient vehicle movement.

This course summarizes and highlights the geometric design process for modern roadway intersections. The contents of this document are intended to serve as guidance and not as an absolute standard or rule.

When you complete this course, you should be familiar with the general guidelines for
at-grade intersection design. The course objective is to give engineers and designers an in-depth look at the principles to be considered when selecting and designing intersections.

A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (also known as the “Green Book”) published by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is considered to be the primary guidance for U.S. roadway design. For this course, Chapter 9 – Intersections will be used exclusively for fundamental roadway geometric design principles.

Learning Objectives

At the successful conclusion of this course, you’ll be able to identify and discuss:

  • General design considerations – function, objectives, capacity
  • Alignment and profile
  • Sight distance – sight triangles, skew
  • Turning roadways – channelization, islands, superelevation
  • Auxiliary lanes
  • Median openings – control radii, lengths, skew
  • Left turns and U-turns
  • Roundabouts
  • Miscellaneous considerations – pedestrians, traffic control, frontage roads
  • Railroad crossings – alignments, sight distance

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