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Modelling Pedestrian-Induced Vertical Vibrations of Footbridges (Civil Project)

A pedestrian crowd walking on a footbridge causes the footbridge to vibrate. These vibrations become an issue of serviceability and can give rise to discomfort for the pedestrians, whereby they should, to as large extent as possible, be prevented. Currently, there is a lack of reliable models to describe a dynamic load on a footbridge, due to a walking crowd. Therefore, there is a need for such models.

Lately, a great amount of research has been carried out on the subject pedestrian-induced vibrations of footbridges, though most of it with focus on lateral vibrations. Conversely, this project has been performed aiming to accurately model pedestrian-induced vertical vibrations of a general footbridge.

For that purpose, starting from an existing model, a somewhat improved model, comprising three sub-model, has been developed. The sub-models are: one model of the pedestrian crowd walking along the footbridge, one model describing the load from the pedestrian footstep and one model describing the interaction between the pedestrians and the footbridge.

In order to get statistically reliable results, numerous simulations of the pedestrian-induced vertical vibrations of a specific footbridge have been performed, using the developed model. Averaging the results over the simulations, we could conclude that the model gives an average error of 7 %, compared to experimental data.

The measured quantity giving these results was the absolute maximum value of the acceleration at the midpoint of the footbridge. The achieved dynamical response of the footbridge is qualitatively satisfying, while the quantitative error is larger than we hoped for, whereby we conclude that further improvement of the model is needed before we are able to accurately model pedestrian-induced vertical vibrations of footbridges.
Source: Umeå University
Author: Zäll, Emma

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