Long-span road bridges are governed by congested traffic rather than free-flowing conditions. During congestions, heavy vehicles can get quite close to each other, thus giving potential critical loading events for the bridge. In this paper, the effects of a system capable of warning truck drivers when the gap falls below a certain threshold are investigated. The effects are studied both in terms of increase in traffic disruption and reduction in loading. The minimum distance between trucks should be ideally adjusted in relation to the site-specific traffic features and to the load the bridge is able to carry in safety. Doing so, it is possible to allow for future increase in truck weight regulations and/or heavy traffic volumes, by adjusting the control gap value. Importantly, the system does not presume any restriction to the truck weight. By contrast, the system is meant to be an alternative way of limiting the load on long-span bridges by keeping the trucks apart, rather than by limiting the truck weight. The introduction of such a gap control system is studied by means of micro-simulation. The car-following model used here has been shown able to replicate many observed congestion patterns. Results show that the introduction of the gap control system does not significantly disrupt the traffic further. On the other hand, having only 10% of equipped trucks beneficially reduces the total traffic loading by about 10%. When most trucks are equipped, nearly 50% reduction in the total load can be attained.
University College Dublin ->
Civil Engineering Research Collection