The MAP 21 infrastructure funding bill incorporates risk-based decision making to increase the effectiveness of how existing assets are managed. As part of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) research program the firm has been tasked with developing a data-driven performance index based on reliable, quantifiable data that incorporates our increasing awareness of how bridges actually perform and the risks of their dis-utility and failure. While this index may have subjective components like those associated with current bridge condition assessment, as the LTBP program expands its field data collection efforts, it is expected that this index will become increasingly objective in nature.
A Long-Term Bridge Performance Research Index is being developed as a part of the LTBP Program that represents each of the performance categories recognized by the FHWA Performance Primer, namely Functionality, Serviceability, Condition, Durability, System Integrity, Resilience, as well as “importance or essentiality” of the bridge. The Index will be applicable to the most common highway bridges in the NBI database, and will be a data-driven tool that includes heuristic knowledge and objectively measured performance characteristics. It will gradually minimize its reliance on subjective metric determinations as LTBP data becomes available.