PEER Proposed Research Summary: "Uncertainty Quantification for Meeting Bridge Design Objectives"

May 24, 2024

The impact of a PEER funded research project "Uncertainty Quantification for Meeting Bridge Design Objectives" is highlighted below. The project Principal Investigator (PI) is Tracy Becker, UC Berkeley. The Research Team includes Maria Camila Lopez Ruiz, UC Berkeley; Debra Murphy, Slate Geotechnical Consultant; Tessa Williams, Slate Geotechnical Consultants.

Download the Research Project Highlight which includes the abstract (PDF)

Research Impact

There is still considerable debate on the appropriate and best methods to select ground motions for time series analysis of structures. Furthermore, there is a large disconnect in thought between seismologists and structural engineers which has resulted in codes that have (1) multiple accepted methodologies for including uncertainty from seismic input and (2) express the need for consideration of uncertainty without providing direct guidance. By comparing the resulting statistics of engineering demand parameters and damage states arising from suites of different ground motion selection and scaling methods and comparing the resulting uncertainties against that from the original seismic hazard analysis as well as the structural model and material uncertainties, we will build a strong basis to (1) give explicit recommendations on the effect of ground motion selection methodologies that should be used for design, and (2) provide clear guidance on how practitioners can maintain means and uncertainties. As a result, this work will facilitate procedures for bridges requiring nonlinear dynamic analysis, reducing design costs, and bolster confidence in the seismic performance of these structures. Furthermore, through understanding the uncertainty in the analysis, stakeholders can be given more power to select beyond-code-conforming behavior. Thus, the research is of strong interest to Caltrans structural and geotechnical engineers, structural engineering firms, geotechnical engineering firms, and code committees.

Research Highlight Image