The introduction of element inspection condition methods in the early 1990s represented a significant advancement in bridge inspection practice and has been adopted by the vast majority of the state transportation departments in the United States. Bridge owners nationwide have recognized the benefits of detailed condition assessments through the use of the raw inspection information, expanded performance measures, and bridge management system deterioration forecasting and evaluation (AASHTO Manual for Bridge Element Inspection, First Edition, 2013). With the adoption of the AASHTO Manual for Bridge Element Inspection by the AASHTO Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures in 2013, to meet the requirements in the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21)” legislation and to ensure the safety of the motoring public, the bridge owners need guidelines to promote (1) consistency in the collection of element-level data for bridges on the National Highway System (NHS) and (2) collection of reliable data that support asset management practices.
The objective of this research was to develop guidelines to improve the quality of element-level data collection for the NHS Bridges in reference to the AASHTO Manual for Bridge Element Inspection. At the minimum, the guidelines should include recommendations to: (1) improve consistency in data collection and assessment of bridge element conditions and (2) establish accuracy levels for element conditions and applicable defect quantities to support bridge management system deterioration forecasting and evaluation. The research agency’s final report that documents the entire research effort is available as NCHRP Web-Only Document 259.