Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Civil engineering

Publication Details

6th International ASRANet Conference, Croydon, London.


Assessment of highway bridge safety requires a prediction of the probability of occurrence of extreme load effects during the remaining life of the structure. While the assessment of the strength of an existing bridge is relatively well understood, the traffic loading it is subject to, has received less attention in the literature. The recorded traffic data are often limited to a number of days or weeks due to the cost of data collection. Studies in the literature have used many different methods to predict the lifetime maximum bridge load effect using a small amount of data, including fitting block maximum results to a Weibull distribution and raising maximum daily or maximum weekly distributions to an appropriate power. Two examples are used in this study to show the importance of the quantity of data in predicting the lifetime maximum distribution. In the first, a simple example is used for which the exact theoretical probabilities are available. Hence, the errors in estimations can be assessed directly. In the second, ‘long-run’ simulations are used to generate a very large database of load effects from which very accurate estimates can be deduced of lifetime maximum effects. Results are presented for bidirectional traffic, with one lane in each direction, based on Weigh-in-Motion data from the Netherlands.