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Improving Design & Approvals for a Monorail

AEC Excellence Awards // 2018

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Encouraging eco-tourism on a city-scale project

Sambo Engineering used BIM to design a new monorail project in Korea’s Taejongdae Park. The firm is using Autodesk software—including InfraWorks, Civil 3D, Revit, and Dynamo—for model-based project design and visual design communication for faster approvals.

Rendering of Taejongdae Monorail
Image courtesy of Sambo Engineering


Sambo is using Autodesk BIM solutions to design Busan’s new Taejongdae monorail.


Taejongdae monorail project

Korea’s Taejongdae Park is a state-designated Scenic Site located on Yeongdo Island in Busan. This popular nature park covers over 17 square kilometers, with a large evergreen forest and dramatic cliffs overlooking the Korea Strait. Visitors can hike through the park on foot, or ride aboard diesel “trains” that loop through the park on a ring road.

In 2017, the City of Busan had launched a program to attract more tourists to the city. As part of that effort, the city is replacing Taejongdae’s diesel vehicles with an eco-friendly 3.7-kilometer monorail. The monorail will run on tracks approximately 6 meters above the ground, giving tourists sweeping views of the cliffs, sea, and surrounding hillsides.

The monorail project also includes a new main depot as well as four stations within the park, allowing tourists to disembark and explore the park on foot. The monorail is being developed with private capital by a consortium of companies including Korean firm Sambo Engineering, which is responsible for the project’s design.

Environmentally sensitive and geometrically complicated

Taejongdae Park is one of Korea’s officially-designated national Scenic Sites. As such, Sambo’s project design was heavily scrutinized to ensure that it preserved and maintained harmony with the surrounding landscape. In addition, the park’s mountainous terrain required that the monorail track have a continuous change of vertical and plane curves.

Due to the project’s environmentally sensitive setting, as well as the complex geometrical curves of the track itself, Sambo realized it would need strong design communication and close project collaboration with the extended project team, its consortium partners, and government agencies.

Sambo used a model-based design approach and Autodesk BIM solutions to develop its project design and visually communicate that design to all project stakeholders and the public. Intelligent 3D design modeling was used to produce:

  • a series of design alternatives
  • coordinated design documentation
  • high-quality photorealistic project visualizations
  • accurate cost estimates
Rendering of Taejongdae Monorail
Image courtesy of Sambo Engineering


Autodesk BIM software helped Sambo visually communicate its project design for faster design approvals.

Image courtesy of Sambo Engineering


Sambo combined its Civil 3D and Revit design models in InfraWorks to give project stakeholders a better understanding of the project in the context of the park’s existing environment.

Civil design

Sambo began its design effort by using Civil 3D to generate a 3D topographic model of the park and explore options for the monorail’s route through the park’s terrain. After settling on the best route, the design team used Civil 3D to create automatically adjusting 3D surfaces, alignments, profiles, and corridors for the monorail track, structures, and grading. This intelligent project model enabled the firm to quickly develop and visually communicate alignment and grading alternatives, in addition to producing earthwork and cost estimates for the design alternatives.

Sambo designers used Dynamo, a visual programming tool that works with Revit, to model the curved track surface. They extracted surface and profile information from Civil 3D to Dynamo via an Excel spreadsheet. Since the monorail’s track is related to and offset from its alignment, the design of the actual track could be easily automated with Dynamo and linked to Revit elements. Revit was also used for the architectural design of the main depot building and the four monorail stations.

Autodesk BIM solutions helped us develop the best design for the monorail’s complicated elevated structure while preserving the park’s natural scenery and vistas. Furthermore, we could easily communicate that design to project stakeholders for faster and more informed design approvals.

—Choi Hyung Lae, Director, Sambo Engineering


Model-based design communication

To facilitate project communication, Sambo combined their design models in InfraWorks—creating an integrated 3D model of the entire project. They used the InfraWorks software to quickly generate a model of the existing park based on publicly-available data. This base model included a digital terrain model draped with aerial photo imagery. Then they imported their detailed Civil 3D and Revit design models of the monorail’s structures, grading, track surface, depot, and stations. This enabled the design team and project stakeholders to visualize the design in the context of the park’s existing terrain and surrounding environment.

This integrated model was an important feature for communication and collaboration between internal design team members, as well as between the design team and consortium partners. In addition, the model was used to generate high-quality photorealistic renderings and animations of the project against the backdrop of the existing park. These visualizations were crucial for the design approval process and public outreach efforts.


The design of the new Taejongdae monorail project is nearing completion, and the monorail is scheduled to be operating by the end of 2020. With Autodesk BIM solutions, Sambo was able to quickly develop design alternatives and visually communicate those alternatives to project stakeholders—giving those stakeholders a better understanding of the design for faster decision-making and design approvals.

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