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Design of Bridge Inspection Programs for Structural Reliability
Author(s) and Affiliation(s):
George Hearn, Dan M. Frangopol, and Steven Marshall Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
Principal Investigator:
George Hearn
National Science Foundation
Research Start Date:
September 1994
Expected Completion Date:
August 1997
Research Objectives:
The quality of condition assessments of bridges depends on the accuracy and precision of inspection methods. Limitations in inspection methods produce uncertainties in the condition of bridges. The uncertainty of condition assessment is a basis for the evaluation of inspection methods. Condition assessments are estimated both as mean values and as lower bounds consistent with the variability in performance of an inspection method. These estimates are incorporated in evaluations of bridge strength and safety. The disparity between mean values of strength and safety and lower bound values is a measure of the quality of the inspection. This is an end-use basis for measurement of performance of inspection methods and leads naturally to requirements for high accuracy and precision in inspections for critical defects, and confirms the utility of simpler inspections where limited precision may be acceptable. The measurement of performance of inspection methods makes possible the design of inspection programs. Inspection methods can be selected and applied so that goals for assurance of structural condition are met.
Expected Products or Deliverables:
Products of the research include models of the performance of inspection methods, procedures for the evaluation of significance of errors in condition assessments, and a process for the selection of inspection methods to achieve a desired level of assurance in condition assessments. The process for the selection of inspection methods can also indicate when a desired level of accuracy or precision can not be obtained.

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