What Is Super Elevation?

Charlotte Miller

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Are you curious to know what is super elevation? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about super elevation in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is super elevation?

In the realm of civil engineering and transportation infrastructure, precision and safety are paramount. The art of designing roads, highways, and railways involves more than just straight lines; it requires a deep understanding of how vehicles and trains navigate curves. Enter the concept of “super elevation,” a subtle yet crucial technique that ensures smooth and secure travel around curves. In this blog, we delve into the world of super elevation, uncovering its purpose, principles, and the science behind optimizing curved roadways and tracks.

What Is Super Elevation?

Super elevation, also known as banking or cant, is the process of tilting a road or railway track laterally (sideways) along a curved path. The purpose of super elevation is to counteract the centrifugal force that pushes vehicles and trains outward when navigating curves, providing enhanced stability and safety.

Key Aspects Of Super Elevation:

  1. Centrifugal Force: When a vehicle or train travels around a curve, centrifugal force comes into play. This force tends to push the vehicle or train away from the center of the curve.
  2. Balancing Forces: Super elevation involves tilting the road or track in such a way that the centrifugal force is balanced by the gravitational force, enhancing equilibrium during curve traversal.
  3. Optimal Angle: The degree of super elevation required depends on factors such as curve radius, design speed, and vehicle characteristics. It’s calculated to ensure a smooth transition for vehicles from the tangent (straight) portion of the road to the curved section.

Super Elevation Techniques:

  1. Horizontal Curve: In this technique, the road or track is tilted along the horizontal axis to allow vehicles or trains to negotiate the curve with greater ease.
  2. Vertical Curve: Vertical curves involve elevation changes along a curve, compensating for the grade of the road or track to maintain equilibrium.

Benefits Of Super Elevation:

  1. Enhanced Safety: Super elevation reduces the risk of vehicles or trains skidding or overturning when navigating curves, improving safety for passengers and drivers.
  2. Smooth Transitions: The gradual tilting of the road or track provides a smooth transition from straight segments to curved sections, minimizing discomfort for passengers.
  3. Higher Speeds: Properly designed super elevation allows vehicles and trains to maintain higher speeds around curves without compromising stability.

Factors Influencing Super Elevation:

  1. Curve Radius: Tighter curves require higher levels of super elevation to counteract the greater centrifugal force.
  2. Design Speed: The desired speed at which vehicles or trains navigate the curve impacts the amount of super elevation needed.
  3. Vehicle Characteristics: The type, size, and characteristics of vehicles or trains using the road or track influence the optimal super elevation angle.

Super Elevation And Railways:

In railway design, super elevation is crucial for ensuring the safety and stability of trains when taking curves. Tracks are often banked to prevent derailments and provide a smooth journey.


Super elevation is the invisible hand that guides vehicles and trains around curves with precision and stability. While it might go unnoticed by passengers, its presence ensures that travel remains safe and comfortable, even on winding roads and tracks. The science behind super elevation reminds us that engineering isn’t just about constructing structures; it’s about understanding the physics of motion and using that knowledge to create pathways that seamlessly connect us to our destinations.


What Do You Mean By Super Elevation?

Superelevation is the transverse slope along the width of the road provided by rising the outer edge of the road with respect to the inner edge, throughout the length of the horizontal curve. It is provided to facilitate the safe passage of the vehicle in a horizontal curve.

What Is Superelevation Of Roads?

Superelevation is a method of infrastructure construction used in roadway curves where the outer edge of the pavement is raised above the inner edge. An aspect of the vertical alignment or “profile” of a road viewed in cross-section, it’s an important safety element in the design criteria of any road with curves.

Why Super Elevation?

Super elevation: Advantages and purpose

When a vehicle travels on a curved path, it experiences an outward force known as centrifugal force. To mitigate the effects of centrifugal force, super elevation is provided. It aids in maintaining a constant speed while remaining comfortable on a curve path.

What Is Superelevation Formula?

As per practical conditions, it is suggested that superelevation should be provided to fully counteract the centrifugal force due to 75% of the Design Speed(V) by neglecting lateral friction (f=0) developed. Super Elevation formula = e + f = [V2]/127R.

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