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To predict characteristic extreme traffic load effects, simulations are sometimes performed of bridge loading events. To generalize the truck weight data, statistical distributions are fitted to histograms of weight measurements. This paper is based on extensive WIM measurements from two European sites and shows the sensitivity of the characteristic traffic load effects to the fitting process. A semi-parametric fitting procedure is proposed: direct use of the measured histogram where there are sufficient data for this to be reliable and parametric fitting to a statistical distribution in the tail region where there are less data. Calculated characteristic load effects are shown to be highly sensitive to the fit in the tail region of the histogram.
OBrien, E. J., Enright, B. and Getachew, A. (2010), 'Importance of the Tail in Truck Weight Modeling for Bridge Assessment', Journal of Bridge Engineering, ASCE, 15 (2), 210-213, doi:10.1061/(ASCE)BE.1943-5592.0000043