Many bridges today are assessed regularly using visual inspection, which lends itself to obvious limitations and expense. An alternative for assessing aging bridge infrastructure is structural health monitoring. The standard method for doing this, known as direct bridge health monitoring, has been to install sensors on the physical structure, but installation can disrupt traffic and involve high labor and equipment costs. Could vehicles be used to test for vibration-based bridge health? 

Researchers investigated the effectiveness of indirect BHM, which leverages vehicles traveling over a bridge as data collection devices. While this is not a new field of study, the authors compiled the work of other researchers worldwide into simulation and theoretical analyses, laboratory tests, and field investigations.

The review of the state-of-the-art of indirect BHM, “Recent Advancements and Future Trends in Indirect Bridge Health Monitoring,” by Premjeet Singh, Shivank Mittal, and Ayan Sadhu in the Practice Periodical on Structural Design and Construction, uses a unique classification structure and provides references for other researchers on this evolving field of study. Learn more about using indirect BHM as a safe, viable option to direct BHM at The abstract is below.                


Bridges hold an imperative role in the transportation network and infrastructure. Continuous monitoring of their condition is crucial for the efficient operation of transportation facilities. Conventional bridge monitoring has relied on direct sensor instrumentation on the bridge to obtain the bridge response. Indirect bridge health monitoring (iBHM) leverages the moving traffic over the specific bridge of interest. The benefit of iBHM lies in the fact that bridge instrumentation is no longer required since the moving vehicle is instrumented with sensors. The collected data can be used to identify the dynamic characteristics of the bridge. Additionally, the method can be used to detect damage using the information of the vehicle bridge interaction. This paper systematically reviews the recent research progress in iBHM, and the review is organized based on four main groups, namely single test vehicles, tractor-trailer vehicles, crowdsourced/smartphone monitoring, and contact point (CP) response. The primary classification is further divided according to the nature of the investigation, which includes theoretical and numerical investigations, laboratory tests, and full-scale validations. After a concise and systematic review, the existing challenges and future recommendations are outlined. It is anticipated that this review will provide valuable guidance for researchers and practitioners of bridge engineering to understand better the evolution, development, and future trends of iBHM.

Explore the effectiveness of iBHM in the ASCE Library: