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Stop That Civil 3D Wizard

Tags alignment, intersection, horizontal control, vertical control, cross section control, video

The Wizard is an operative fact in modern software. Autodesk programmers love to employ the beasts. Wizards do make workflow and user data collection easier to manage. AutoCAD Civil 3D has more than a few mission critical ones.

The current Civil 3D publication methodology based on Alignments is very wizard centric. Our discussions of many details of that became part of our Civil 3D Book of Alignments. You can register, become a Member and get access to that Book for free. You can learn Intelligent Publish On Demand from the Better Deliverables training video course. People say it knocked their socks off.

Do you ask that most important wizard question,

“What is Happens on That Page?”

One of the subtle deceptions of Autodesk’s wizards is that Civil 3D users often get the impression you must go through all the steps all at once. In other words – we must always complete the entire wizard. Product demonstrations and basic Civil 3D training videos also tend to enhance the false impression of the all or nothing approach. That’s annoying.

It’s About Time

We get fixated on filling out the boxes as we seek completion. It is easy to miss the point of what is going on in the individual pages of the Intersection Wizard. If that wizard doesn’t appear to work for our purposes we look for other more elaborate, alternative, and manual methods. That may be a waste of time. The answer can be there in front of us. We must keep in mind…

The Nuanced Dance of the Data Behind

To be specific: the Intersection Wizard is one of the better things about AutoCAD Civil 3D. It also happens to be one of the most disappointing things to me because Autodesk never bothered to improve on and fix the key concepts built into it.

  • If we can do roads, we can do ditches and other grading features.
  • We should be able to resolve more than a single pair of alignment/profile pairs.
  • Ramps should not be a pain
  • Automatic intersection targets are Assembly Group Order specific –
    we must remember to keep left groups before right groups
  • Ad nausea

Suffice it to say that Infraworks 360 gets it’s magic from this exact same externalized approach albeit with AASHTO vehicle type and lane based specifics included.

Why isn’t intersection geometry tested against the same tables which already exist in Civil 3D?

Will we have intersection design tools that employ AASHTO vehicle-based Design Rules and work the way traffic engineers actually do it in AutoCAD Civil 3D? Perhaps. We have roundabouts. Yes. Roundabouts do work like stuck in code with a somewhat poor integration to the rest of Civil 3D.

Nonetheless we can work around the issues with the skillful use of the tools we do have.

Stop, Drop and Roll to Managed Control

You can employ the first couple of pages of the Intersection Wizard to establish the basic often interconnected Horizontal Control for multiple intersections. Is there ever only one? Hardly.
You then bail from the wizard and further refine the Horizontal Control.
You can finish the Horizontal, Vertical, and Cross Section Control details from the Intersection Ribbon tools in Civil 3D.

I did a well-received Autodesk Univerisity presentation of the Stop the Wizard approach back in the day.
Every release I hope in vain Autodesk will update and fix the annoying issues with the Intersection Wizard.
Sadly, the approach remains valid today.

Stop That Intersection Wizard

This video aptly demonstrates how to employ the Intersection wizard to page by page to build up the needed data behind to create a series of malleable intersections. All this says that the key points on the Baselines are the most important points to identify in the design process which is what an Intersection is in the first place. That is not as circular as it sounds. The rest of the Intersection wizard is a collected set of rules and properties than can be applied at will via the Intersection Ribbon tools.

I saved some really scary horizontal control stuff until the end of this video. That goes to show that we all need to...

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