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Research and Development (R&D) Project Sites

Project Information
Project ID:   FHWA-PROJ-08-0004
Project Name:   Federal Highway Administration Long-Term Bridge Performance Program
Project Status:   Active
Start Date:  April 1, 2008
End Date:  April 1, 2013
Contact Information
Last Name:  Ghasemi
First Name:  Robert
Telephone:  202-493-3024
E-mail:  robert.zobel@dot.gov
Office:   Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Team:   Infrastructure Management Team [HRDI-60]
Program:   Long-Term Bridge Performance
Project detail
Roadmap/Focus area(s):   Infrastructure Research and Technology Strategic Plan and Roadmap
Project Description:   In the United States, the stewardship and management of more than 590,000 bridges present many ongoing planning, operational, maintenance, and economic challenges for Federal, State, and local transportation agencies. To help overcome these challenges and foster the next generation of bridge and bridge management systems, in April 2008, the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Infrastructure Research and Development launched the Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) Program, a major new strategic initiative designated as a flagship research program. The authorization of the LTBP Program was included in legislation for surface transportation programs enacted by the United States Congress in 2005: The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users. The Long-Term Bridge Performance Program is intended to be a 20-year undertaking with both short- and long-term goals. It includes detailed inspection, periodic evaluation and testing, monitoring, and forensic investigation of representative samples of bridges nationwide by taking advantage of proven sensor technology.
Goals:   The objective of the Long-Term Bridge Performance Program is to compile a comprehensive database of quantitative information from a representative sample of bridges nationwide, looking at every element of a bridge. The data and information collected in this program will provide a more detailed and timely picture of bridge health; improve knowledge of bridge performance; and ultimately promote the safety, mobility, longevity, and reliability of the Nation's highway transportation assets.
More Information URL(s):  
  1. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/research/tfhrc/programs/infrastructure/structures/ltbp/
Product Type:   Research report
Training materials
Test Methodology:   Analytical, experimental, and field investigation.
Other Information:   The LTBP Program will take advantage of the state-of-the-art sensor technologies to evaluate the characteristics of a bridge either periodically or continuously as needed.
Expected Benefits:   Improve knowledge of bridge performance.
Deliverables: 1. Name: Bridge Performance Primer.
Product Type(s): Research report, Techbrief
Description: This report provides a clear and complete perspective on the concept of bridge performance and presents the path to a better and deeper understanding of what bridge performance means and how to reliably measure it to improve the performance of the transportation system.
2. Name: Protocols For Condition Assessment of Bridge Elements.
Product Type(s): Research report, Training materials, Techbrief
Description: Various protocols are designed to accommodate visual inspection, a variety of sensors and associated instrumentation, and nondestructive evaluation (NDE) and destructive test methods.
3. Name: Decision Support Tools.
Product Type(s): Research report, Software, Techbrief
Description: The Bridge Assessment Decision Tool (BDT) is a software tool that houses data-collection protocols. It makes a connection between the specific measurement and evaluation techniques, general types of techniques (visual inspection, nondestructive evaluation, monitoring, etc.), data types, types of deterioration, and bridge components. A Web-based application then allows users to run queries using these connections as search criteria. A query returns the protocol sheet for a given measurement technique, including a detailed description, equipment required, technique procedure, suggested frequency of use, and output data. The BDT will lead to data collection that is uniform and consistent in the duration of the Long-Term Bridge Performance Program.
4. Name: Long-Term Bridge Performance Pilot Study Phase.
Product Type(s): Research report, Techbrief
Description: The primary objective of the Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) pilot study is to validate the methods and protocols developed for data collection under the developmental phase of the LTBP Program. In addition, it provides critical knowledge on key factors for coordination with bridge owners, difficulties in accessing components of the bridge, maintaining safe and satisfactory traffic flow during onsite activities, realistic costs associated with all aspects of the field testing, issues related to durability and reliability of instrumentation and data transmission methods, and mobilizing data collection technology from one region to another.
5. Name: Long-Term Bridge Performance Bridge Sampling Methodology.
Product Type(s): Research report, Techbrief
Description: A methodology based on Correspondence Analysis is developed for selecting a representative sample of bridges that would be subjected to detailed inspection and periodic monitoring for the duration of the Program.
6. Name: Long-Term Bridge Performance Long-Term Data Collection Methodology.
Product Type(s): Research report, Techbrief
Description: The sampling methodology developed in the developmental phase of the Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) Program is used to select an appropriate sample of bridges from each subpopulation. The sampled bridges from each subpopulation will then undergo two different evaluations. A smaller sample will undergo detailed inspection and periodic monitoring by visual inspection as well as more advanced methods that utilize sensor, nondestructive evaluation, and simulation technology. To establish baseline characteristics of these bridges reliably, detailed finite element models will be constructed and calibrated through comparison with field data using comprehensive structural identification approaches. At the same time, a larger sample will only undergo detailed visual inspection by using methodology established in the developmental phase. The smaller sample size from each population will be identified as “Reference Bridges” (RefBrgs) and will represent a key focal point of the LTBP Program. The large sample size will be identified as "Cluster Bridges."
7. Name: Long-Term Bridge Performance Outreach Activities.
Product Type(s): Research report
Description: Summary and technical reports from outreach activities in support of the Long-Term Bridge Performance Program will be available.
FHWA Topics:   Roads and Bridges--Asset Management
TRT Terms:   Bridges
Bridge Construction
Ground Transportation
Detection and Identification Devices
FHWA Disciplines:   Design
Construction and Project Management
Subject Areas:   Bridges and other structures
Data and Information Technology
Maintenance and Preservation


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