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SIGHT DISTANCE

Spring 2015

Sight Distance

Stopping Sight
Distance

Decision Sight
Distance

Passing Sight
Distance
Note: A drivers ability to see ahead is of the utmost
importance in the safe and efficient operation of a
vehicle on a highway

Example: Sight
Distance

Stopping Sight Distance


Definition: The available sight distance on a highway that
allows a vehicle traveling near the design speed to stop
before reaching a stationary object in its path

Brake Reaction Time


(d1)

Braking Distance (d2)

Stopping Sight Distance


Braking Reaction Time
Distance:

d1 = 1.47Vt
Where,
d1 = BRT distance (ft)
V = Design Speed (mph)
t = Braking reaction time (s)
Note: Usually 2.5 seconds is used as the BRT. However, some
drivers can take as long as 3.5 seconds. The absolute
minimum should be 1.64 seconds.

Stopping Sight Distance


Braking Distance:
2

V
d 2 = 1.075
a
Where,

d2 = Braking distance (ft)


V = Design Speed (mph)
a = deceleration rate (ft/s2)
Note:
Deceleration rate for design: 11.2 ft/s2
Deceleration rate in emergency: 14.8 ft/s2

Stopping Sight Distance


Braking Distance (with
Grade):
2

V
d2 =
a

30

32.2

Where,
d2 = Braking distance (ft)
V = Design Speed (mph)
a = deceleration rate (ft/s2)
G = Grade in percent (- for downgrade, + for upgrade)

Stopping Sight Distance


Example: Calculate the braking distance for a highway section
characterized with a design speed of 60 mph and a 8%
downgrade
2

V
d2 =
a

30

32.2

602
3600
d2 =
=
= 444.4 ft

11.2
30 ( 0.35 - 0.08)

30
- 0.08

32.2

Stopping Sight Distance: Design


Values

Stopping Sight Distance: Design


Values

Decision Sight Distance


Definition: The available sight distance on a highway
needed to detect an unexpected or otherwise difficult-toperceive information in a roadway environment

Decision Time (d1)

Braking Distance (d2)

Same as SSD

Decision Sight Distance


General Guidelines:
Stop on Rural Highway: 3.0 s
Stop on Urban Highway: 9.1 s
Speed/Direction Change on Rural Highway: 10.2 11.2 s
Speed/Direction Change on Urban Highway: 14.0
14.5 s
Other Areas:
Interchanges
Toll
Plaza
Note:
In some instances, DSD may not be
economically feasible. In these cases, the use of
suitable traffic control devices should be provided

Decision Sight Distance: Design


Values

T=2.5 s

T=10.2 s

Passing Sight Distance


Definition: The sight distance needed for allowing a faster
vehicle to pass a slower vehicle on a two-lane highway
Sum of four distances:
d1 Distance traversed during the perception and reaction
time + acceleration to the point of encroachment
d2 Distance traveled while the passing vehicle occupies the
left lane
d3 Distance between the passing vehicle at the end of its
maneuver and the opposite vehicle
d4 Distance traversed by an opposing vehicle for 2/3 of the
time the passing vehicle occupies the left lane

Passing Sight Distance

Initial Maneuver Distance


Occupying Left-Lane
Distance

Clearance Distance Opposing Vehicle Distance

PASSING SIGHT DISTANCE


Important assumptions
The overtaken vehicle travels at uniform
speed
The passing vehicle has reduced speed and
trails the overtaken vehicle as it enters a
passing section
The passing vehicle accelerates during the
maneuver and its average speed is 10 mph
higher than the overtaken vehicle
When the passing vehicle returns to its lane,
there is suitable clearance length between it
and the oncoming vehicle in the other lane

Passing Sight Distance: Design Values

PASSING SIGHT DISTANCE

10

30

50
Mph

70

PASSING SIGHT DISTANCE

Based on HSM Multiple Passing Zones

Passing Sight Distance

ti=4.5; t2=10.5

ti=4.5; t2=9.3
ti=3.6; t2=9.3

PASSING SIGHT DISTANCE


Important design consideration
The range of speeds are affected by traffic
volume
Low volume few vehicles need to be passed
High volume few opportunities to pass
Should provide as many as passing sections as
possible
Should not be confused with other warrants
used for designing no passing zones

PASSING SIGHT DISTANCE


Important design consideration
(contd)
Overtaking a vehicle is easier for
downgrade segments
Need to provide longer passing sight
distance for upgrade
In mountainous terrain, it may be more
economical to provide for a climbing
lane
The number of passing opportunities
greatly affects the capacity of your
facility

Criteria for Measuring Sight


Distance
Driver Eye Height
Passenger Car: 3.5 ft
Large Trucks: 5.9 to 7.9 ft
SSD Object

PSD Object

2.0 ft

3.5 ft

Object

Measuring Sight Distance

Passing Sight Distance


Previous Detailed Calculations

Passing Sight Distance


Initial Maneuver Distance (d1):

at
i

d1 = 1.47ti
v
m
+

2
Where,
ti = time of initial maneuver (s)
v = average speed of passing vehicle (mph)
a = average acceleration rate (ft/s2)
m = difference in speed between passing and passed
vehicles (mph)
Note: Average time for ti is between 3.6 and 4.6 seconds
Average acceleration a is between 1.4 and 1.5 ft/s2

Passing Sight Distance


Distance for Occupying Left Lane (d2):

d 2 = 1.47vt2
Where,
v = average speed of passing vehicle (mph)
t2 = time passing vehicle occupies the left lane (s)
Note: Average time for t2 is between 9.3 and 10.4 seconds

Passing Sight Distance


Clearance Distance (d3):
Usually varies between 100 to
300 ft
Opposite Vehicle Distance (d4):
Assume to be 2d2/3
Note: Opposite vehicle assumed to travel at the same speed
as the passing vehicle

Passing Sight Distance: Design


Values

Passing Sight Distance: Design


Values