Statistically representative bridge samples for seismic fragility analysis of Texas bridges
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Historically, bridges in the State of Texas have not been explicitly designed or detailed for seismic hazards, predominantly due to the negligible seismic activity across much of the state. A recent rise in the number of earthquakes recorded in Texas has raised concerns about the seismic vulnerability of the highway bridge inventory. To investigate the seismic vulnerability of Texas bridges, seismic fragility analysis of the state highway bridge inventory is performed using numerical models of the bridges of concern to generate fragility curves. When assessing such a large number of structures such as the approximately 53,000 bridges in the Texas highway bridge inventory, it is impractical to analyze and develop a fragility curve for each individual structure. Instead, fragility curves are developed for bridge samples that are statistically representative of the entire inventory. The objective of the work described in this thesis is to develop the representative bridge samples to be used in seismic fragility analysis of the Texas bridge inventory. First, the bridge inventory is separated into various bridge classes based on superstructure type. Second, statistical distributions of key bridge geometry descriptors (e.g., number of spans, maximum span length, deck width, column height, etc.) are developed from bridge inventory data. Third, typical component details are identified for various types of bridges from various eras of construction. Finally, parameter sampling techniques are used to generate different bridge samples with geometries and construction details that are statistically representative of the entire bridge population. These representative Texas bridge samples can be used in a numerical seismic fragility analysis to develop probabilistic estimations of seismic damage for given earthquake shaking intensities.
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