Economic evaluation of commercial remote sensors for bridge health monitoring

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Conference Paper/Presentation

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The Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) and Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI), in cooperation with the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), have completed research that investigates the use of remote sensing technologies to assess and monitor the condition of bridge infrastructure. This study was funded largely by the USDOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration as part of an effort to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of bridge inspection, repair, and rehabilitation efforts. Remote sensing technologies were correlated with in-place sensors and traditional inspection methods to obtain bridge condition assessment data and evaluate them as part of an integrated decision support environment to move them toward practical use in structural health monitoring. As part of the overall effort, CAR researchers conducted an evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of a broad deployment of remote sensing techniques for bridge condition assessment and a decision support system (DSS) for bridge infrastructure management. After background research, laboratory testing, field demonstration, and interviews with bridge inspection experts, three technologies emerged as having the most potential for cost-effective implementation: 3D Optical Bridge Evaluation System (3DOBS), Thermal Infrared Imagery (ThIR), and Ultra Wide Band Imaging RADAR System (UWBIRS). The researchers conclude that investment in remote sensing technologies for bridge health monitoring can enhance technical performance of bridge inspection and improve the resource allocation decision process for transportation agencies. Use of these technologies can be especially beneficial when combined with a decision support system (DSS), such as that developed by the research team.

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© 2012 Transportation Research Board

Publication Title

TRB 92nd Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers