Defining a braking probability to estimate extreme braking forces on road bridges
A probabilistic approach is necessary to estimate the magnitude of the braking force that compares in terms of return period with the vertical traffic loads present in bridge design codes. A data set from a Danish Field Operational Test served as support to identify hard braking episodes and to compute travelled distances by road hierarchy. The rate of braking events per vehicle travelled distance is used as estimate of the braking probability. Concurrently a structural model was developed for stochastic analysis of the dynamic response of bridges to braking events from realistic traffic configurations. This paper presents results for extreme braking forces on bridges with site-specific traffic data and within a probabilistic framework. Such evaluation is economically advantageous when compared to the application of structural codes, while still meeting the reliability targets they impose.