We're starting to think Civil 3D is going nowhere, and we might try out Revit + Siteworks. It handles solids, and provides a full BIM model. Plus MEP can handle water mains, and we could actually share models with the architects.
That's in theory. How well it might work is another matter.
Although I'm definitely feeling your frustrations with Civil 3D (and I'm saying this as a Civil 3D certified professional), you should check out the documentation for Landxml and IFCxml to get a taste of exactly what each one documenting. They serve separate needs.
In other words, I'm not sure how Revit will work for railway spirals, defining catchment areas, etc...
Ideally, Civil 3D should have support for solids, and should be able to translate Landxml pipes into equivalent IFCxml pipes and import .
Promoting Civil 3D as a “BIM” solution for civil engineers is a mistake on Autodesk’s part, because it raises certain expectations. Civil 3D is not BIM, however, maybe we should start using terms such as Civil Information Modeling or Construction Information modeling. I’m writing this with the Landxml schema in mind.
There has to be better workflow between Revit and Civil 3D; maybe object enablers? If I can view non-dwg files, such as GIS data via data-connect in Civil 3D, there should be way for Civil 3D and Revit to connect and view each other directly and not through a third *.adsk file, maybe with proxy objects. Not quite xrefs, but then I’m not going to xref edit a building shell or doorway. Why pdf’s, dwf’s, dgn’s, but not rvt’s? There has to be a way; if Navisworks can do it, then so should Civil 3D and Revit. Just as I can use data connect to access particular GIS data from different files, I should be able to access only a building shell, or pipe connection from a rvt file if I so chose, without having to ask the architect to create a adsk file every time there is a design change. And if there absolutely has to be a third file format, then it should automatically apply design changes, such as VSP3D files which link Civil 3D to 3ds Max Design.
Profile hatches are poor representations of 3D solids and once again are CAD-like, not BIM-like. The same can be said for section views; material hatches, using shape styles is not the same as a virtual material.
Maybe a solution is a new Landxml schema that has solid materials? A tin/grid solid with its points defined by x, y, z1 (top elevation), x, y, z2 (datum elevation)?
Matt, I have been envisioning a corridor similarly, one where you could plug in various constructs like driveways, wheelchair ramps, etc.
I don't know that you would have to be able to insert solids, but have the ability to insert a construct you have designed as a corridor. You could model a driveway as a corridor and then plug it in where needed.