Identifying Critical Clusters of Traffic-Loading Events in Recurrent Congested Conditions on a Long-Span Road Bridge

E. Alexandra Micu*, Eugene J. O'Brien, Abdollah Malekjafarian, Ross McKinstray, Ewan Angus, Myra Lydon, F. Necati Catbas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Downloads (Pure)


This paper examines the nature of traffic loading in recurrent congested traffic conditions on a long-span suspension bridge. Traffic flow and percentage of trucks are extracted from image data and a cluster analysis performed to classify the data into four clusters. One cluster (MTHF, medium truck percentage and high flow) is identified that incorporates almost 50% of the hours of traffic data scattered throughout the day. Site-specific load assessment confirms that this MTHF cluster is the most critical for the bridge considered, the Forth Road Bridge in Scotland. For non-recurrent congestion, another cluster (HTLF, high percentage of trucks and low flow) is shown to govern but this finding is highly site-specific, depending on the relative frequency of the different types of congestion. A comparison of the maximum hourly/daily MTHF load effect of the cable force for five notional bridges shows that a 100% increase in the bridge span generates an increase of about 65% in the characteristic load effect.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5423
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 05 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland under US/Ireland programme, grant 14/US/I3033. The authors gratefully acknowledge Science Foundation Ireland for supporting this research under US/Ireland programme grant 14/US/I3033.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Bridge
  • Cluster
  • Congestion
  • Dendrogram
  • Flow
  • Image
  • Loading
  • Long-span
  • Non-recurrent
  • Recurrent
  • Suspension
  • Traffic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering(all)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Identifying Critical Clusters of Traffic-Loading Events in Recurrent Congested Conditions on a Long-Span Road Bridge'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this