Bridge Condition Assessment Using Remote Sensors

Project Sponsors: 
US DOT Research Innovative Technology Administration (RITA)

The condition of the nation’s infrastructure has gained increased attention in recent years, primarily as a result of catastrophic events such as the I-35W collapse in Minneapolis. However, deteriorating transportation infrastructure has burdened transportation agencies for many years. Bridges continue to age, and funds for the repair and replacement of this infrastructure are insufficient at current funding levels. Remote sensing technologies, which enables non-contact data collection at great distances, offer the ability to enhance inspection and monitoring of bridges.

Research Objectives

The objective is to explore the use of remote sensing technologies to assess and monitor the condition of bridge infrastructure and improve the efficiency of inspection, repair, and rehabilitation efforts to develop unique signatures of bridge condition.


Remote sensing technologies will be correlated with in-place sensors to obtain bridge condition assessment data without the need to place heavy instrumentation on the structure. This information will then be analyzed by a computer decision support system to develop unique signatures of bridge condition. Monitoring how these signatures change over time will provide state and local engineers with additional information used to prioritize critical maintenance and repair of our nation’s bridges. The ability to acquire this information remotely from many bridges without the expense of a dense sensor network will provide more accurate and near real-time assessments of bridge condition. Improved assessments allow for limited resources to be better allocated in repair and maintenance efforts, thereby extending the service life and safety of bridge assets, and minimizing costs of service-life extension.

Principal Investigator: 
Project Status: 
Project Summary: 
Project Completion Date: 
December, 2012