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Cross Section Tool

Manipulate banking, crowning, and curb shapes at road cross-sections


The Cross Section Tool enables you to edit the shape of roads at specified cross-sections to manipulate banking, crowning, and curb shapes.

By default, all roads have a cross-section defined at the start and the end of the road. Use this tool to add additional cross-section nodes at arbitrary points along the road. When you modify these cross-section nodes, either in the scene editing canvas or the 2D Editor, RoadRunner interpolates the shape between the nodes. You can also use this tool to modify cross-sections imported from OpenDRIVE® files.

To modify the banking angle along the full width of the road, use the Road Superelevation Tool. To modify the sidewalk heights and adjust the height of the curb, use the Sidewalk Height Tool.

Open the Cross Section Tool

On the RoadRunner toolbar, click the Cross Section Tool button:

Cross Section Tool button


Modify Road at Cross-Section

Add crowning, or slight elevation, to a cross-section of a road.

  1. Create a straight road segment by using the Road Plan Tool. Zoom in on the center of the road, and rotate the camera to view the road from the center to one of the road edges.

    Straight road viewed from the center to the road edge

  2. Click the road to select it. Then, click the Road Cross Section Tool button. As you move your pointer along the road, the road now displays a preview of a flat road cross-section in blue.

    Road selected and flat cross-section displayed in blue

  3. Create a road cross-section by right-clicking at the approximate center of the road. In the scene editing canvas, the cross-section is displayed in red.

    Created cross-section in red

    The cross-section is also displayed in the 2D Editor.

    Flat cross-section in 2D Editor

    To modify the position of the cross-section further, either click and drag the cross-section or, in the Attributes pane, modify the Distance attribute of the cross-section. You cannot move a cross-section past another cross-section and you cannot move a cross-section past the start or end of a lane.

  4. In the 2D Editor, right-click the center of the cross-section to add an editable node to the cross-section.

    Cross-section in 2D Editor with a red node at its center

  5. Click and drag the center cross-section node up until it has an approximate height of 0.5 meters. For more precise control over the height of the node, select the node in the 2D Editor and, in the Attributes pane, set the Height attribute to 0.5.

    Cross-section in 2D Editor with center node elevated

    In the scene editing canvas, the road is now crowned at the inserted cross-section, sloping down to the left and right of its elevated center.

    Road with a crown at the inserted cross-section

  6. (Optional) Modify additional parts of the cross-section from the 2D Editor. For example, drag the node tangents to change the slope of the road at the edges.

The cross-section of the road remains flat at the road edges, and RoadRunner interpolates the height and slope of the road between the inserted cross-section and the road edges.


Road Cross-Section Attributes

DistancePosition of the cross-section along the road, in meters, specified as a nonnegative real scalar. Distance is relative to the edge of the road that was created first.

Cross-Section Node Attributes

HeightHeight of node above the ground, in meters, specified as a real scalar.
OffsetLateral offset of node from the center of the cross-section, in meters, specified as a real scalar.

Cross-Section Node Tangent Attributes

SlopeSlope of node tangent, in percent grade, specified as a real scalar.

Cross-Section Span Attributes


Height of span above ground, in meters, specified as a real scalar.

If the height varies along the span, then the Height attribute displays the height of the cross-section node connected to the left side of the span.

SlopeSlope of span, in percent grade, specified as a real scalar.


  • RoadRunner imports superelevation data from OpenDRIVE files but visualizes OpenDRIVE roads only by interpolating between the specified lane boundary positions. This visualization difference means that roads shown in the scene editing canvas do not match the superelevation data in the Cross Section Tool. For example, this imported road renders as having a sharp, triangular slope whereas the actual superelevation data shows that the road has a more bell-shaped slope.

    Angular road with bell-shaped superelevation data overlaid on it

    When you export such roads back to OpenDRIVE, RoadRunner exports the superelevation data so that the roads maintain their correct analytical representation.


  • You can save a cross-section as a road style template for use with creating future roads. Select a road cross-section and, in the Attributes pane, click Create Road Style. Save the new road style template to the Library Browser.

Introduced in R2020a