Truck Platoon Impacts on Steel Girder Bridges
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2019 American Society of Civil Engineers. The presence of truck platoons on our nation's highways is an inevitability. This research study aims to explore the potential effects of this paradigm shift in our transportation system as it relates to existing and future bridge infrastructure. Platooning provides substantial improvement in fuel efficiency by allowing trucks to operate closely spaced together. Not surprisingly, these conditions may violate the fundamental assumptions that underlie our past and current design codes, which were created without any knowledge of platooning. The purpose of this study is to identify potential conditions to which these fundamental assumptions may not be adequate. To address this question, a series of analytical studies were conducted, focused on steel multigirder bridges. A single girder was analyzed in various configurations for a wide range of span lengths. Each configuration was analyzed under past and current design specifications along with numerous truck platoon arrangements. The results indicate that the current design specification performs well. The exception is longer span structures carrying closely spaced truck platoons. In these cases, live-load positive bending moment and shear force demands can be substantially greater. The historic design standard does not perform well overall. Based on these results, recommendations for identifying structures with increased live-load demands are provided, as well as the future research required to account for platooning in new design.