InTrans / Jul 27, 2015

Patent-pending bridge assessment technologies

Over the years the manner in which bridge conditions are evaluated has undergone many transformative evolutions. One of the most important developments was in the late 1960s following the historic and unfortunate collapse of the Silver Bridge across the Ohio River, which helped spur the creation of the National Bridge Inspection Standards.

Researchers at the Institute for Transportation’s Bridge Engineering Center (BEC) are helping lead some of today’s most innovative developments in the bridge evaluation evolution. Examples include two continuous, autonomous bridge evaluation technologies. Both are in the final stages of receiving patent protection.

One new technology includes custom computer algorithms for determining when and where changes in structural behavior have occurred. This technology uses a combination of statistical and structural parameters to determine when a change has occurred and whether or not the change is significant.

The other new technology assesses the safe load-carrying capacity of bridges after the passage of a common semi-truck.

Both technologies are being beta-tested on bridges across the country, and the researchers are looking for commercialization opportunities.

For more information contact
Brent Phares, BEC director,

This aritcle is part of the CTRE EnRoute 2014 Year-at-a-Glance series. Download the full document (.pdf).