Probabilistic model of traffic scenarios for extreme load effects in long-span bridges

Abstract

The traffic scenarios that may cause extreme load effects are of great importance to the safety assessment of bridge structures. The traditional simulation method of traffic flow cannot depict the distribution pattern of vehicles on the bridge deck when the maximum effect is induced. In this paper, a probabilistic Gaussian mixture model (GMM) for heavy vehicle scenarios on the bridge deck under free-flow condition is proposed for long-span bridges based on collected Weigh in Motion (WIM) data. The scenarios of extreme response under free-flow occur more frequently than congestion scenarios and are of similar value and relevance in the daily management and safety assessment of long-span bridges. A non-stationary Poisson process is utilized to simulate the uneven occurrence of heavy vehicles in different lanes, and it is assumed that they are located within the artificially defined cells on the bridge deck. Then, Nataf transformation is employed to consider the correlation of gross vehicle weights (GVWs) within close range in the same lane. The numerical study is carried out on a long-span cable-stayed bridge to investigate the effects of correlation in GVWs and stationarity of vehicle distribution location on the structural responses. The load responses calculated by the proposed model and Monte Carlo method for different effects are compared with the values derived from code model. The results show that with the increase of the correlation level of the neighboring GVWs, the simulated responses are more prone to get extreme values, which means an increasing probability of the most unfavorable spatial distribution of on-bridge vehicles. The same results are also found under the non-stationary simulation state for vehicle location. The non-stationary Poisson process provides an efficient, highly feasible method, which is also in the safe side, for simulating the vehicle spatial distribution for specific effects.The support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant number 51878495), the Academician Project Foundation of CCCC (Grant numbers: YSZX-01-2020-01-B), the National Key R&D Program of China (Grant number 2018YFB1600100) and the Shanghai Sailing Program (Grant number: 21YF1449300) is gratefully acknowledged. The opinions and conclusions presented in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsoring organizations.Peer ReviewedPostprint (author's final draft

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