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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-16-007    Date:  January 2016
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-16-007
Date: January 2016


Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) Program Protocols, Version 1

Chapter 3. How to Use the LTBP Program Protocols

The LTBP Program protocols are written to be implemented by various end users. The typical use case coincides with the simple chronology of the protocol hierarchy, beginning with the previsit activities; followed by the field assessment, testing, and data collection; and finally the postvisit data management. As an example, consider the following use case:

The person responsible for planning and logistics uses the PRE protocols to ensure that all requisite data from the bridge owner have been collected. From this data, the user extracts the critical physical attributes of the structure and conceptualizes what the onsite situation will be. If possible, the user will conduct a brief site visit to address any logistical concerns he or she may have based on documentation. Based on the site visit, the user will create a schedule for onsite data collection, encompassing the design of any structural testing, the intended distribution of material sampling locations, and the logistics required to conduct these investigative activities, as well as visual inspection and NDE in a timely, safe, and efficient fashion. These planning activities are some of the most important tasks in the LTBP Program, and without exception, are a task that requires clear, concise guidance from the protocols, as well as experienced, knowledgeable staff who can interpret and apply the protocols properly in many situations.

The field data collection effort is completed by as many users as required to amass the appropriate skillsets. The users perform various data collection tasks as described by the field data collection protocols. The person (or persons) responsible for data collection needs the required certifications described in the previsit protocols and a working knowledge of the types of data collection efforts they are leading. The protocols provide a uniform set of guidelines, decisions, and consistent references to other resources to guide the personnel performing data collection. These activities are overseen by the person who designed the data collection effort, who remains responsible for ensuring the protocols are enacted properly and the data are appropriately stored.

The final step of the process involves processing, interpreting, reporting, and archiving the collected data. Note that while the protocols will provide information and guidance in a clear and repeatable manner, this portion of the process has an element of creativity to it. To some extent, this is true for all phases of a data collection effort, which is why identifying appropriate personnel is critical.



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