Bridges play a key role in economic development by ensuring the mobility of people and goods. However, many bridges are approaching the end of their design life while expanding traffic loads and worsening effects of climate change are increasing bridge maintenance requirements. Inspections play a pivotal role in bridge condition assessment and integrity management.  Many countries have developed inspection policies, and several studies have made comparisons of the different inspection types, frequencies, and inspector qualifications. “Comparison of Bridge Inspection Policies in Terms of Data Quality”, published in the Journal of Bridge Engineering, includes analysis of the quality of data acquired, through various inspection procedures, specifically regarding completeness, timeliness, correctness related to human and technical factors, and level of data processing.

Authors Chiara Iacovino, Zehra Irem Turksezer, Pier Francesco Giordano, and Maria Pina Limongelli used five indicators to examine inspection procedures in 12 countries and regions. The indicators are defined as: WHEN (inspection frequency), WHICH (inspection methods), WHO (inspection personnel and training level), WHAT (inspection outcome), and WHERE (inspected elements). These indicators highlight the similarities and differences in the quality of the data acquired by each country or region’s procedures. Read more about their findings in the abstract below, or by reading the full paper in the ASCE Library,


Periodic and exceptional inspections provide information about the condition of bridges to support decisions on maintenance or repair activities needed to counteract defects and damages efficiently. Inspections are carried out on a regular basis or after special events. In different states, diverse approaches to visual inspections have been developed to support bridge integrity management. In the literature, several comparative studies have been published on inspection procedures; however, most of them compare a very limited number of countries due to a lack of information or language barriers. In this paper, the inspection practices adopted in several countries and regions worldwide are critically examined through a comprehensive survey of the available standards, guidelines, and best practices. The novel contribution of this paper concerns the application of a new method to classify and assess different bridge inspection procedures. This is achieved through the definition of indicators relating to different aspects of the quality of data collected during the inspections.

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