11 Aug 11
Research project extends knowledge of threats to bridges
A research project into protecting critical bridges from threats has now been completed.
SKRIBT, which was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), focused on the protection of critical bridges and tunnels in a road network. German traffic and transportation planning consultant and software provider PTV has supported SKRIBT as one of the project’s 10 partners and has incorporated the new knowledge into its Vissim simulation software.
The aim of the research project was to identify possible threat scenarios such as storm, flooding, explosion and fire and to develop effective protective measures with regard to construction, operation and organisation. It also looked at how people respond to emergency situations.
As part of the project cycle, the partners developed prevention and response measures, covering aspects such as evacuation. "Here, PTV primarily focused on risk and cost-benefit analyses," said PTV Germany traffic engineer and project manager Dr Ing Georg Mayer.
In order to assess the effectiveness of measures, PTV extended its simulation model in Vissim using computational fluid dynamics. "This method enables us to analyse the impact of concentration, pressure and heat on individuals in response to intensity," explains Mayer. Moreover, new approaches based in behaviour and awareness have been introduced, developed
in partnership with the Department of Psychology at the University of Würzburg.
The new Vissim module in the PTV Vision suite simulates interactions between pedestrian and vehicle flows so that analyses can be run that encompass both. There are also analyses that are specific to pedestrians. Other results from the project include identifying and classifying threat scenarios for tunnels and bridges, analysis of all current standards and guidelines that include approaches for protecting tunnels and bridges and the preparation of a catalogue of about 140 technical, operational or organisational measures to protect bridges and tunnels.
A successor project, SKRIBT+, is due to start in autumn. The original project considered only specific events while its successor will also look at secondary and overlapping events, such as where flooding along with a storm affects a bridge.