On population-based structural health monitoring for bridges: comparing similarity metrics and dynamic responses between sets of bridges

Andrew Bunce*, Daniel S. Brennan, Alan Ferguson, Connor O'Higgins, Su Taylor, Elizabeth J Cross, Keith Worden, James Brownjohn, David Hester*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Downloads (Pure)


Bridges are valuable infrastructure assets that are challenging and expensive to maintain. State-of-the-art data-based bridge SHM solutions look to use bridge response data for condition assessment and damage detection. Data-based SHM methods can be limited in their application as they require large datasets to train models effectively, and most bridges lack the available data for the approaches to work. Further, it would be expensive and unrealistic to collect the required datasets to employ data-based methods to entire bridge networks. Recently, a population-based structural health monitoring (PBSHM) approach was proposed that seeks to leverage the data available for SHM problems by pooling together similar structures with their datasets. The PBSHM approach could be valuable in bridge SHM, enhancing the datasets available for ‘populations of bridges. The PBSHM approach for assessing the similarity of bridges has been considered before and was shown to be useful for identifying similar and different bridge types. However, no data were considered in the previous work, and similarity metrics were only qualified using engineering judgement. For the PBSHM approach to be useful in bridge SHM, there is still a need to check that ‘similar’ bridges have similar responses for transfer learning to be feasible. This paper expands upon previous work and provides originality by investigating if bridges identified as similar also exhibit similar responses. The PBSHM derived similarity metrics convey the topological similarity between structures, and mode shapes are identified as being a topologically sensitive bridge response. Therefore, a modal test campaign is carried out for a set of six real bridges, and Operational Modal Analysis is used to identify modal responses from each of the bridge decks. The Modal Assurance Criterion is used to evaluate the similarity between the mode shapes from pairs of bridges and is subsequently compared to the similarity metrics evaluated between those bridges. The similarity metrics were found to be reflective of the similarities identified between the respective bridges’ mode shapes for bridges of the same and different types. The significance of this finding is that it is an important step towards validating the PBSHM comparison approach for identify similar structures where transfer learning might be attempted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111501
Number of pages18
JournalMechanical Systems and Signal Processing
Early online date09 May 2024
Publication statusEarly online date - 09 May 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'On population-based structural health monitoring for bridges: comparing similarity metrics and dynamic responses between sets of bridges'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this