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The accurate estimation of site-specific lifetime extreme traffic load effects is an important element in the cost-effective assessment of bridges. A common approach is to use statistical distributions derived from weigh-in-motion measurements as the basis for Monte Carlo simulation of traffic loading. However, results are highly sensitive to the assumptions made, not just with regard to vehicle weights but also to axle configurations and gaps between vehicles. This paper presents a comprehensive model for Monte Carlo simulation of bridge loading for free-flowing traffic, and shows how the model matches results from measurements on five European highways. The model has been optimized to allow the simulation of many years of traffic and this greatly reduces the variance in calculating estimates for lifetime loading from the model. The approach described here does not remove the uncertainty inherent in estimating lifetime maximum loading from data collected over relatively short time periods.
Enright, B. and O'Brien, E. J. (202013), 'Monte Carlo Simulation of extreme traffic loading on short and medium span bridges', Structure and Infrastructure Engineering, 9 (12), 1267-1282, doi:10.1080/15732479.2012.688753