Component Road Customization
Figure 1: Component placement along a road
Roads are one of the most powerful tools in InfraWorks®. Component roads, to be exact. Why? Because component roads allow you to design based on AASHTO and DMRB design standards, manipulate vertical curves using a live profile editor, and generate cut/fill calculations based on their associated grading styles. But the real power of component roads lies in their ability to be highly customized to create just about any roadway style, intersection, or configuration imaginable.
From Autodesk InfraWorks Help: “Component roads are assemblies of different parts, such as lanes, curbs, gutters, medians, shoulders, and sidewalks. You can add, split, delete, or modify EVERY component and assembly in your roadway project, and save custom road assembly configurations to your Library so you can use them again.” See Figure 2.
Simply put, you can easily piece together a roadway using any number of components, placing them at any location along a road, and for any length, and giving them the ability to transition in and out smoothly (for example, to create a bus drop-off area) to give your road the right look and feel for your project.
You can also add decorations along the road such as guard rails, barriers, light poles, etc. And when your roadway is complete, you can then save that assembly for later use in your project. Or, as you’ll see toward the end of this article, how you can save the assembly and use it in any project.
Figure 2: Road Assembly > Add To Library
When working with component roads, it’s important to understand that the individual components you choose perform specific functions and may react unexpectedly when used in a situation they aren’t designed for. Figure 3 shows an example of a component road that was built using three lane components; one lane component to represent the single yellow stripe and two-lane components for the actual drive lanes on either side of the yellow stripe. When the road is by itself it looks fine, but when it crosses another road, things go awry.
Figure 3: Incorrect use of components
Because there are three lanes in use, InfraWorks assumes the yellow stripe is actually a drive lane (which technically it is, in this example) and therefore uses that center lane’s material to fill the intersection. Also notice the turn arrows on the botton and left side extend over the yellow line. Again, this is because a lane component was used.
The proper way to create this particular component road style is to use a median component for the yellow stripe and lane components on either side. This time the turn arrows clean up better and do not extend past the yellow line because a median component was used (see Figure 4).
Figure 4: Correct use of components
I mentioned earlier that you can save the roadway assembly and use it in any project, and here’s how. When you save a custom component road assembly, its definition and preview image are saved to the project directory in a folder labled “Custom.” In that folder are two files associated with your custom roadway style: a .PNG (the thumbnail preview of the road) and a .ACITEM file (this is the actual roadway definition and tells InfraWorks which components to use). To find these files, browse to the following location:
C:\Users\<User Name>\Documents\Autodesk InfraWorks Models\Autodesk 360\<model number>\<model name>.files\unver\Content\Styles\Component\Custom
Then copy them to C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\InfraWorks\LocalLibrary\Styles\Component\Assembly and every project (new and existing) will be able to use your custom roadway style.
If you’ve never used component roads before, the examples in Figures 5 and 6 will hopefully inspire you to give them a shot.
Figure 5: Image credit to Matt Wunch
Figure 6: Image credit to Daniel Iliyn, PE, David Evans and Associates, Inc.