Evaluation of traffic load models for fatigue verification of European road bridges

Johan Maljaars (Corresponding author)

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Fatigue verification of bridge structures requires information on the loads induced by heavy vehicles, which can be obtained from weigh in motion measurement (WIM) systems. The current fatigue load models applied in Europe are based on traffic load measurements in 1986. This paper evaluates the appropriateness of these models for today’s traffic by comparing their load effects with those of recent WIM databases, covering the years 2008 to 2018. A procedure is derived to determine the required size of the WIM database for a sound representation of the fatigue loads. The effects of traffic jams are evaluated and the required safety margins or partial factors are derived. As already concluded by others, it appears that the most frequently used fatigue load model is unable to represent the fatigue action effects of today’s European traffic. In addition, the paper demonstrates that the other fatigue load models are also inaccurate. A new fatigue load model is proposed that is easy in use and gives a significant improvement in accuracy compared to the existing models. The parameters in this model can easily be calibrated for other WIM databases.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111326
Number of pages16
JournalEngineering Structures
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020


  • Bridge
  • Fatigue
  • Heavy vehicle
  • Load model
  • Lorry
  • Weigh in motion


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