Vibration serviceability of footbridges under human-induced excitation: A literature review

  • Živanović S
  • Pavic A
  • Reynolds P
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Increasing strength of new structural materials and longer spans of new footbridges, accompanied with aesthetic requirements for greater slenderness, are resulting in more lively footbridge structures. In the past few years this issue attracted great public attention. The excessive lateral sway motion caused by crowd walking across the infamous Millennium Bridge in London is the prime example of the vibration serviceability problem of footbridges. In principle, consideration of footbridge vibration serviceability requires a characterisation of the vibration source, path and receiver. This paper is the most comprehensive review published to date of about 200 references which deal with these three key issues. The literature survey identified humans as the most important source of vibration for footbridges. However, modelling of the crowd-induced dynamic force is not clearly defined yet, despite some serious attempts to tackle this issue in the last few years. The vibration path is the mass, damping and stiffness of the footbridge. Of these, damping is the most uncertain but extremely important parameter as the resonant behaviour tends to govern vibration serviceability of footbridges. A typical receiver of footbridge vibrations is a pedestrian who is quite often the source of vibrations as well. Many scales for rating the human perception of vibrations have been found in the published literature. However, few are applicable to footbridges because a receiver is not stationary but is actually moving across the vibrating structure. During footbridge vibration, especially under crowd load, it seems that some form of human–structure interaction occurs. The problem of influence of walking people on footbridge vibration properties, such as the natural frequency and damping is not well understood, let alone quantified. Finally, there is not a single national or international design guidance which covers all aspects of the problem comprehensively and some form of their combination with other published information is prudent when designing major footbridge structures. The overdue update of the current codes to reflect the recent research achievements is a great challenge for the next 5–10 years.

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