Prioritisation methodology for application of bridge monitoring systems for quick post-earthquake assessment

Piotr Omenzetter, Poonam Mangabhai, Ravikash Singh, Rolando Orense

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


To facilitate quick post-earthquake assessment of bridge condition, monitoring systems can be installed onto structures. However, due to high cost it is impractical to monitor all bridges within a network. Bridges which are exposed to increased hazards, are vulnerable and have high failure consequences pose the greatest risk to network functionality should they fail in a seismic event, and would therefore benefit the most from implementation of monitoring systems and quick condition assessment methodologies. This paper outlines a methodology to prioritise bridges for monitoring and quick condition assessment based on their seismic risk. The methodology uses four factors to determine risk, i.e. seismic hazard, vulnerability, failure impact and uncertainty of available data and assessment methods. The hazard factor accounts for the seismicity levels at bridge sites and length of time of exposure to hazard. Structural and geotechnical aspects have been combined to determine the vulnerability of each bridge. Impacts quantify the consequences of bridge failure on safety and network functionality. The uncertainty premium accounts for the quality, variability and limitations of data and risk assessment methods used. The overall risk calculated for each bridge within a stock enables prioritisation of structures for monitoring and quick post-disaster assessment. The whole spectrum of approaches to bridge monitoring and condition evaluation comprises bridge specific monitoring data used for quick and accurate analyses for the most critical, high risk bridges; data sourced from wide-area strong motion arrays used for quick but less accurate assessment for medium risk structures; and traditional visual inspection based assessment of low risk bridges. A discrete scoring system was adopted and detailed tables that enable scoring the hazards, vulnerabilities, impacts and data and assessment uncertainties developed. The proposed methodology was applied to a selection of bridges from the city of Wellington, New Zealand to test its applicability and performance. A comparative study with another seismic risk assessment method was also conducted. The results showed that the methodology effectively prioritised bridges depending on seismic risk. The methodology was also able to determine if risk at a particular bridge site was predominantly related to hazard, structural vulnerability, geotechnical vulnerability or impact. The methodology is simple, quick and flexible and can be adapted based on the level of accuracy required. The uncertainty premium allows risk to be determined given variable data and assessment method quality which has the benefit of being able to tailor data collection and assessment to the needs of each network and available resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-276
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Civil Structural Health Monitoring
Issue number4
Early online date20 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


  • bridges
  • condition assessment
  • disaster response
  • risk
  • road networks
  • structural health monitoring


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