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This paper considers the problem of assessing traffic loading on road bridges. A database of European WIM data is used to determine accurate annual maximum distributions of load effect. These in turn are used to find the probability of failure for a number of load effects. Using the probability of failure as the benchmark, traditional measures of safety – factor of safety and reliability index – are reviewed. Both are found to give inconsistent results, i.e., a given factor of safety or reliability index actually corresponds to a range of different probabilities of failure.
OBrien, E.J., Hajializadeh, D., Sheils, E. and Enright, B. (2012), 'Estimation of Lifetime Maximum Distributions of Bridge Traffic Load Effects', In: F. Biondini, D.M. Frangopol, Eds, 6th International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management, Stresa, Italy, Taylor & Francis, 1482-1488 .