by Transoft Solutions Inc.
Software Models Parking in a Confined Space
When it comes to urban planning, “densification” seems to be the current mantra, as architects, civil engineers and urban planners design communities and homes that utilize a smaller real estate footprint, in an effort to promote sustainable development and reduce urban sprawl.
The city of Denver, with a population of just over 600,000, is no different from other major North American cities when it comes to promoting and implementing sustainable development practices.
Chad Fabre, a civil engineer based in Denver with 17-years experience, recently took on a site development project, involving the construction of a compact 12-unit apartment complex in a densely populated area of downtown Denver.
The specific challenge was getting city approval for the narrow drive way in the middle of the apartment complex. Each apartment unit had a private garage, for one or two cars. There were, in particular, two apartment units where garage access was tight, and the Denver city planning department wanted proof that vehicles could easily access and exit the garages without making multiple-point turns.
For this project, Fabre needed comprehensive CAD software that could provide vehicle turn and swept path analysis of cars maneuvering through constricted pathways. This is when Fabre turned to AutoTURN® to model and simulate realistic vehicle movements in tight turning conditions.
Fabre, who specializes in civil engineering for land development, utilities, and roadway projects, had used AutoTURN previously for modeling fire trucks turning through narrow streets, and tractor trailers and semis accessing loading docks.
AutoTURN was already loaded into Fabre’s 2012-version of AutoCAD® Civil 3D®. “I found AutoTURN pretty simple to use. Like anything, there’s always a bit of trial-and-error at first, but it’s pretty straight forward afterwards,” says Fabre. It took just over half an hour for Fabre to develop a swept path analysis of a car getting into and exiting a garage.
With AutoTURN, simulatig vehicle turn maneuvers is easy to do, using four SmartPath Tools that incorporate speed, super elevation, lateral friction and turn radius algorithms. All simulation data can be exported to spreadsheets on standard document formats.
Fabre was also impressed that he was able to model a vehicle backing out, or moving in reverse. This was useful when it came to showing how cars could exit garages, again, without making multiple turns.
Once Fabre completed his vehicle turn analysis using AutoTURN, he incorporated a detailed swept path diagram into his plan view drawings of the apartment complex (see Fig 1).
Fabre wanted to go one step further, and show city officials visual simulations of cars driving into and backing out of the garages. For this, he used InVision for road design to animate, coordinate and sequence multiple vehicle simulations in the apartment complex driveway. He then exported the timed, animated sequence into a video file.
With InVision, users can export and save simulations in different multimedia video files using a number of standard codecs. Different video codecs can be used to reduce video output files. The final recorded files can be opened and viewed on any computer using most video players.
Fabre’s next step was inventive: at the suggestion of Transoft Solution’s technical support person, he uploaded the InVision video file onto YouTube. He then embedded the YouTube URL directly onto the plan view drawings, enabling anyone who clicked on the hyperlink to go onto YouTube and view the multiple vehicle simulations.
“My clients were amazed,” says Fabre. “It was probably more than what was expected, but it did the job.”
Another AutoTURN feature that Fabre found useful was the ability to have real vehicles represented in the swept path diagrams. In Fabre’s drawings, a Ford Focus is featured. “For the person studying the drawings, they have to be as realistic as possible,” says Fabre. “You can’t have a rectangle box backing up or going forward in your drawing; it’s not convincing.”
AutoTURN has an extensive vehicle library database for the U.S. and Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Users can also find specialized vehicles such as trailers, trucks and limousines. The software allows users to customize their own vehicles.
Currently Fabre is waiting for the second round of comments from the city, but feedback, so far, has been positive. Fabre expects the apartment project to go through the approval process smoothly.
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fax: +31 10 258 78 77
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