A Sequential Exploration Algorithm for the Design Optimization of Horizontal Road Alignment

SSRN Electronic Journal(2022)

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Abstract
Most computer‐aided optimization procedures for horizontal alignment optimization of roads require the use of information such as horizontal points of intersection (PIs) to determine an alignment. In these methods, to obtain parameters such as the radius of the curve corresponding to a specific PI, the previous and next PIs must be known. In this paper, a sequential exploration algorithm (SEA) is proposed, and the algorithm continuously explores the entire optimization space through certain steps. Only the parameters of the previous node are required to determine the current node's parameters during the exploration process, avoiding the tight coupling between PIs in traditional optimization algorithms. Furthermore, the proposed SEA does not require assumptions about the positions and numbers of the PIs, and it can design near‐optimal road alignments that match geometric restrictions and automatically take transition curves into account. Another feature of the proposed algorithm is that it directly optimizes the geometric element parameters based on the actual milepost, and it is a fully collaborative optimization approach that does not require secondary optimization nesting during the optimization process. Analyses comparing the optimization effects of different algorithms are performed on a numerical case, that is, a problem of avoiding obstacles, and two actual cases from the literature, that is, a new road design problem and an existing road reconstruction problem. It is discovered that the proposed SEA results in an approximately 3% to 10% improvement in optimization effects when compared to two current cutting‐edge optimization algorithms. This work offers a new perspective on road alignment optimization by merging discrete and continuous optimizations, with a discrete component handling optimization accuracy and a continuous component handling real optimization.
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Key words
horizontal road alignment,sequential exploration algorithm,design optimization
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