An equivalent moving force model for consideration of human-structure interaction

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To predict the vibration response of footbridges, many codes of practice use a deterministic moving force (MF) model. This approach may not be well suited for the design of slender, lightweight, low-damping, and low-frequency footbridges because it ignores the pedestrian interaction with the vibrating footbridge. On the other hand, a spring-mass-damper (SMD) model is able to incorporate human mass, stiffness, and damping into the vibration response prediction. However, the SMD model is computationally demanding and not commonly available in engineering practice. To address this shortfall, a framework is proposed to derive a computationally-efficient equivalent MF-structure system to the reference SMD-structure system such that both systems give a similar vibration response metric. Analytical and numerical approaches to the equivalent MF (EMF) system are described in detail and applied to bridges with approximately simply-supported mode shapes. A sensitivity analysis is carried out to show the effects of different pedestrian parameters on the equivalent damping of the EMF system. The effects of pedestrian damping, frequency, and weight are found to be pronounced, while those of dynamic load factors and pedestrian step length are insignificant. Finally, empirical expressions are proposed in a probabilistic framework to determine the equivalent damping for simply-supported low-frequency footbridges as a function of bridge frequency. This work should find use in the serviceability assessment of low-frequency footbridges in engineering practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-545
Number of pages20
JournalApplied Mathematical Modelling
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Footbridges
  • Human-induced vibration
  • Human-structure interaction
  • Moving force
  • Spring-mass-damper

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