Characterization of Operational Vibrations of Steel-Girder Highway Bridges via LiDAR

Adriana Trias-Blanco, Jie Gong, Franklin L. Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


This research is motivated by the need for rapidly deployable technologies such as wireless, non-contact or remote sensing for evaluating bridges under operating conditions to minimize the data collection time, avoid the disruption of traffic and increase the inspector’s safety. The objective established for this research is to explore the use of remote sensing (e.g., Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)) for characterizing the structural vibration of bridges to support and improve bridge assessment practices. To satisfy this objective, a field study was performed on a 12-span steel stringer bridge in the Philadelphia region. This structure was subjected to extensive LiDAR scanning and conventional vibration data collection through the use of accelerometers for validation purposes. The analysis of the data collected in the field revealed LiDAR’s capability for detecting the structure’s vibration. The field data displayed an error for LiDAR vs. accelerometers of between 1.9 and 10 percent. Additionally, numerical modeling was performed on MATLAB to allow for a better understanding of the interaction between the scanner and the structure. The numerical model presents a vibrating plate to represent a simply supported single-span bridge and a terrestrial LiDAR sensor located under the plate which scans while it is vibrating constantly without attenuation. Finally, a set of recommendations were established for the use of LiDAR scanning to evaluate the structure’s frequency of vibration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1003
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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