Long-span bridge traffic loading based on multi-lane traffic micro-simulation

Colin C. Caprani, Eugene J. O'Brien, Alessandro Lipari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Long-span bridge traffic loading is governed by congestion. Although congestion can take various forms, most previous studies consider only a queue of vehicles. In this paper, traffic micro-simulation is used to generate several congested traffic scenarios on a two-lane same-direction roadway passing over two long-span bridges. To this end, an acknowledged car-following model is coupled with a lane-changing model. Different traffic compositions and several congestion patterns are analysed in relation to their traffic features and influence on bridge loading. It is found that: (a) slow-moving traffic may be as critical as the full-stop condition, depending on the span length; (b) critical long in-lane truck platoons form mainly at moderate inflows, typically occurring outside of rush hours; (c) the truck distribution between lanes has a limited effect on the total loading; (d) the presence of cars has a strong indirect influence on loading through their interaction with trucks. The methodology and the findings have relevance for computing a more accurate traffic loading for long-span bridges.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-219
Number of pages13
JournalEngineering Structures
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2016


  • Long-span bridges
  • Traffic loading
  • Micro-simulation
  • Lane-changing
  • Congestion
  • Probabilistic modelling

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