Evaluation of commercially available remote sensors for highway bridge condition assessment

Document Type


Publication Date



Improving transportation infrastructure inspection methods and the ability to assess conditions of bridges has become a priority in recent years as the transportation infrastructure continues to age. Current bridge inspection techniques consist largely of labor-intensive subjective measures for quantifying deterioration of various bridge elements. Some advanced nondestructive testing techniques, such as ground- penetrating radar, are being implemented; however, little attention has been given to remote sensing technologies. Remote sensing technologies can be used to assess and monitor the condition of bridge infrastructure and improve the efficiency of inspection, repair, and rehabilitation efforts. Most important, monitoring the condition of a bridge using remote sensors can eliminate the need for traffic disruption or total lane closure because remote sensors do not come in direct contact with the structure. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate 12 potential remote sensing technologies for assessing the bridge deck and superstructure condition. Each technology was rated for accuracy, commercial availability, cost of measurement, precollection preparation, complexity of analysis and interpretation, ease of data collection, stand-off distance, and traffic disruption. Results from this study demonstrate the capabilities of each technology and their ability to address bridge challenges.

Publisher's Statement

© 2012 American Society of Civil Engineers. Publisher's version of record: https://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)BE.1943-5592.0000303

Publication Title

Journal of Bridge Engineering