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Long span highway bridges are critical components of any nation’s infrastructure. Therefore accurate assessment of highway bridge loading is essential, and it is well known that congested traffic governs load effect for such bridges. Current congestion models use conservative assumptions about traffic and inter-vehicle gaps. This research investigates congested traffic flow through the use of traffic microsimulation which has the ability to reproduce complex traffic phenomena based on driver interactions. A time series model has been developed to produce a speed time-series similar to the results of the microsimulation. The speed time-series from the new model, combined with the established speed-gap relationship from the microsimulation, form the basis of a more computationally efficient congested traffic model. It is shown that the new model replicates aspects of microsimulation traffic well. However, the resulting load effects do not match as well as expected, and so further development of the model is required.
Caprani, C. C., Carey, C. and Enright, B. (2010), 'A new congested traffic load model for highway bridges', In: N. A. Ni Nuallain, E. Cannon, D. Walsh, C. C. Caprani, R. West, and B. McCabe, eds. Bridge & Infrastructure Research in Ireland, Cork.