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What is a Swept Path Diagram, and Why is it Important?

April 25, 2023
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With 5,892,206 vehicles on the road, makes NSW the most vehicle-populated state in Australia. The sheer volume of vehicles on NSW roads only increases hazards and the risk of traffic flow becoming impacted.

The number of vehicles on NSW roads only further promotes the need for a swept path diagram before and during developmental projects that impact road users. Swept path planning in Sydney increases the safety of road users as well as minimises hazards. Swept path analysis calculates the space needed for vehicles of various types to manoeuvre while performing a turn.

At SSTC safety is paramount and we understand the importance and effectiveness of swept path planning in Sydney. Swept path analysis can be beneficial to all developmental projects and may also be a requirement of your Local Council or Road Authorities when submitting a Development Application.

What is a Swept Path Diagram?

A swept path diagram is an analysis, evaluation, and calculation of the movement and path of different parts of a vehicle when the vehicle is performing a turning manoeuvre such as U-turns, three-point turns, or right turns. They may also be referenced as a swept path analysis or swept path assessment.

Often, swept path planning in Sydney is requested by local councils and road authorities when planning new developments. Swept path diagrams are particularly needed when the driveway and car park design of these developments are shared with various users including pedestrians, other motorists, and cyclists.

When a swept path diagram is established, the exact path a vehicle takes when that vehicle does not move in a straight line but instead turns is calculated and measured. When a vehicle turns it is essential to know what path that vehicle will take and how much manoeuvring space it will require to avoid any accidents or mishaps in the car park design or road design. Swept path analysis or diagrams were once calculated by hand but in modern times more often than not swept path analysis software is used to ensure the safest and most efficient analysis is conducted.

To determine whether swept path planning in Sydney should be calculated and executed, it Is helpful to consider the following types of questions:

·         Do large vehicles need to be accommodated regularly?

·         Are vehicles likely to infringe on pedestrian space?

·         Can two large vehicles pass each other on a curve side by side?

·         Is it more than likely that a vehicle could only exit onto a street by reversing?

·         Do multiple lanes exist within an intersection design?

·         Can large vehicles move through an intersection considering all allowable movements?

·         Is space used conservatively to prevent smaller vehicles from manoeuvring at excessive speed?

A good swept path diagram should ensure the safety of all vehicles involved, allowing for enough space and consideration for small and large vehicles to manoeuvre while turning.

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Why Are Swept Path Diagrams Important?

A swept path diagram is important to aid the design of both industrial, construction, and residential road layouts. The importance of swept path analysis is also not only important to new developments but also to existing sites. Existing sites may require a new or updated swept path analysis when the volumes, flow, and speed of the existing traffic are not adequately accommodated. Whether it be testing loading areas, car park design, emergency access, or construction routes, a swept path diagram evaluates a calculation of the number and type of vehicles that can be logistically, and safely, accommodated on an industrial, construction, or residential site. While in highway planning, it is used to assess what type of design can accommodate which types of vehicles and if that design can accommodate those vehicles' movements.

A swept path diagram can be important and benefit a range of different professionals, including engineers, site owners, architects, urban planners, developers, and special transport personnel. This is because swept path analysis allows them to assess the turning implications of a wide variety of vehicle types on different design layouts, including road, construction, and car park design, at quite an early stage of the development process without the need for any physically driving or undertaking manoeuvres. This helps establish a well-informed and evaluated design plan, as well as ensures an efficient and cost-effective method of assessing multiple alternate sites and layouts.

Not only is a swept path analysis crucial to the safety of all road users, but it is also usually a requirement of Local Councils or Road Authorities with most Development Applications. Local Councils and Road Authorities will often request a swept path diagram when there is a need to assess that the car park and road design complies with the Council's DCP Clause 52.06 and Australian Standard AS2890.1-2004.

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Benefits of Swept Path Diagrams

Swept path analysis is incredibly beneficial for residential, construction, and industrial development design projects. It is not only beneficial to the road users but also to those involved on the site ensuring that there is a minimal hazard for vehicular accidents or collisions. These are some of the benefits swept path analysis provides:


One of the core focuses and benefits of swept path analysis Is safety. They are used to identify potential hazards and conflicts in the movement, interaction and manoeuvring of various vehicles, this includes where vehicles may collide with other vehicles or pedestrians. A swept path analysis ensures the road safety of the area for all vehicles, pedestrians, and workers.


Swept path analysis allows you to make informed decisions during the planning process of development projects because it enables you to evaluate the impact of proposed developments on the movement of vehicles.


Swept path analysis allows you to make informed decisions and ensure the design of a road or car park meets the needs of all the vehicles that will be using it. This is done by assessing the turning radius, clearance, and other key factors such as the way a heavy vehicle may manoeuvre while completing a turn.


Not only does swept path analysis ensure the appropriate efficiency in the flow of traffic that is impacted by the design, but it can also be an efficient process in the analysis. Because swept path analysis calculations are rarely conducted by hand anymore, they have become significantly more efficient with the use of software providing effective results on various vehicle and design types in a short amount of time.


Swept path analysis evaluates the accessibility of all types of vehicles, including delivery, emergency services, public transport, and large vehicles such as trucks.


Because of the use of software, swept path analysis can be calculated at a relatively low cost and quite quickly. This can help identify hazards, risks, and issues early in the design process, making it less likely for costly changes throughout the project.

SSTC Can Create You a Swept Path Diagram

Swept path planning in Sydney is crucial when it comes to the car park and road designs to ensure the safety of road users, construction workers/vehicles, and pedestrians. They are also usually a requirement of Local Councils and Road Authorities for most Development Applications.

SSTC can take the stress out of all the permits and applications required to obtain when establishing a development project. Our team is highly skilled in providing safe, effective, and efficient Traffic Control Plans and swept path analysis. Not only are we able to assist in the documentation requirements, but we also have a highly trained field team within our Traffic Control Services. For more information on how we can assist with your traffic management and control needs, contact us.

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