Impact of Traffic Load Randomness on Fatigue of Steel Bridges

Adam Wysokowski


The article considers the influence of the randomness of traffic load on the fatigue of elements of steel bridge structures. The phenomenon occurs specifically in the case of bridges characterized by significant width, with many traffic lanes and a high vehicle velocity, especially in the case of heavy goods vehicles. It has been shown that underestimation of operational durability, including fatigue durability, can be up to 23%. Operational loads increase due to the overlapping of traffic loads, which leads to the increased fatigue of elements of steel bridge structures. In an effort to assess this influence and its value, elements of the problem of the randomness of road traffic loads were compiled and described, and a simulative analysis of the operational strength of various lengths (spans) of the main girders of bridges was carried out. The analyses showed that for the structures with spans length of up to 10.0 m, the influence of passing vehicles could be skipped in calculations, especially in the case of weak traffic.


durability; fatigue; safety; steel bridges; traffic load randomness

Full Text:



Bruls, A. (1980). Comportement des ponts sous l’action du trafic routier. Association Belge pour l’Etude, l’Essai et l’Emploi des Matѐriaux. Publication ABEM No. 444/1980. (in French)

Croce, P. (2019). Probabilistic Models for Vehicle Interactions in Fatigue Assessment of Bridges. Applied. Sciences, 9(24), 5338.

Croce, P. (2020). Impact of Road Traffic Tendency in Europe on Fatigue Assessment of Bridges. Applied. Sciences, 10(4), 1389.

Frýba, L. (1999). Vibration of Solids and Structures Under Moving Loads. 3rd ed. Thomas Telford, Prague-London, ISBN 0-7277-2741-9.

Guo, T., Frangopol, D. M., & Chen, Y. (2012). Fatigue reliability assessment of steel bridge details integrating weigh-in-motion data and probabilistic finite element analysis. Computers & Structures, 112–113, 245–257.

Harman, D. J., Davenport, A. G., & Wong, W. S. S. (1983). A Statistical Approach to Traffic Loading on Bridges. 4th International Conference on Applications of Statics and Probability in Soil and Structural Engineering. Universita di Firenze, Pitagora Editrice.

Hoogendoorn, S. & Knoop, V. (2013). Traffic flow theory and modelling. The Transport System and Transport Policy, 125–159.

Iwankiewicz, R., & Śniady, P. (1982). Dynamic Response of a Beam to Random Train of Moving Forces. Second Conference on Safety of Bridge Structures. Wrocław University of Technology.

Jacquemoud, J. (1980). Analyse du comportement a la fatique des ponts-routes. Thѐse no 389. Ecole polytechnique fѐdѐrale, Lausanne. (in French)

Krystek, R. (1970). The impact of the width and density of car traffic on one-way streets on the size of the border gap and changes in probability distributions. PhD thesis. Gdansk University of Technology.

Kwon, K., & Frangopol, D. M. (2010). Bridge fatigue reliability assessment using probability density functions of equivalent stress range based on field monitoring data. International Journal of Fatigue, 32(8), 1221–1232.

Liu, Y., Xiao, X., Lu, N., & Deng, Y. (2016). Fatigue Reliability Assessment of Orthotropic Bridge Decks under Stochastic Truck Loading. Shock and Vibration, 2016, 4712593.

Moses, F., Goble, G., & Pavia, A. (1975). Truck Loading Model for Bridge Fatigue. Speciality Conference on Metal Bridges. St. Louis 1974. Proceedings of the ASCE 1.

O’Brien, E. J., & Enright, B. (2011). Modeling same-direction two-lane traffic for bridge loading. Structural Safety, 33(4-5), 296–304.

Pfeifer, M. R. (1982). Verkehrslasten und Beanspruchungen von Strassenbrücken. IABSE Proceedings, 37, Lausanne. (in German)

PN-S-10030:1985 (1985). Bridges-Loads. Polish Committee for Standardization.

PN-EN 1993-1-9 (2007). Eurokod 3. Design of steel structures. Part 1-9: Fatigue.

Pohl, S. (1977). Strassenverkehrsdaten als Grundlage fur Beanspruchungskollektive von Strassenbrucken. Die Strasse, 17(4), 150–154. (in German)

Schilling, Ch. G. (1982). Lateral – Distribution Factors for Fatigue Design. Journal of the Structural Division, 108(ST-9), 2015–2033.

Song, YS., & Ding, YL. (2013). Fatigue monitoring and analysis of orthotropic steel deck considering traffic volume and ambient temperature. Science China Technological Sciences, 56, 1758–1766.

Walker, W. H. (1974). Loading Histories. Speciality Conference on Metal Bridges. St Louis, Missouri, 1974.

Wenzel, H., & Veit-Egerer, R. (2009). Measurement-based traffic loading assessment of steel bridges – a basis for performance prediction. Structure and Infrastructure Engineering, 7(4), 261–273.

Wysokowski, A. (2001). Durability of steel bridges as a function of fatigue and corrosion phenomena. Roads and Bridges Research Institute. Studies and Materials, no. 53. Warsaw. Available from: en/publications/serie-wydawnicze/225-seria-s-studia-i-materialy

Wysokowski, A. (2018). Research on changes in properties of steel from the old road bridge. Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 147, 360–366.

Yan, J., Deng, L., & He, W. (2016). Evaluation of existing prestressed concrete bridges considering the randomness of live load distribution factor due to random vehicle loading position. Advances in Structural Engineering, 20(5), 737–746.

Ye, X. W., Su, Y. H., & Han, J. P. (2014). A State-of-the-Art Review on Fatigue Life Assessment of Steel Bridges. Mathematical Problems in Engineering, 2014, 956473.

Zhang, W., & Cai, C. S. (2012). Fatigue Reliability Assessment for Existing Bridges Considering Vehicle Speed and Road Surface Conditions. Journal of Bridge Engineering, 17(3).

Zhang, W., Wu, M., & Zhu, J. (2017). Evaluation of vehicular dynamic effects for the life cycle fatigue design of short-span bridges. Steel Construction, 10(1), 37–46.

DOI: 10.7250/bjrbe.2020-15.505


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Adam Wysokowski

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.