Headway modelling for traffic load assessment of short to medium span bridges

Eugene J. OBrien, Colin C. Caprani

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticleResearch

38 Citations (Scopus)


Site-specific assessment of the loading to which existing bridges are subject has considerable potential for saving on rehabilitation and replacement costs of the bridge stock. Monte Carlo simulations, with traffic measurements from site, are used to estimate the characteristic values for load effects. In this paper, it is shown that the critical loading events from which the characteristic effects are derived, are strongly dependent on the assumptions used for the headways of successive trucks. A new approach which uses measured headway statistical distributions is developed and is shown to be a reasonable balance between conservative assumptions and less realistic scenarios. The sensitivity of characteristic load effects to conventional headway assumptions is shown to be significant.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Specialist publicationThe Structural Engineer
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Assessment
  • Bridge
  • Gap
  • Headway
  • Load
  • Modelling
  • Simulation
  • Statistics
  • Traffic
  • Traffic loads

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