Deterioration Prediction Models for Condition Assessment of Concrete Bridge Decks Using Machine Learning Techniques

Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Civil and Construction Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Osama Abudayyeh

Second Advisor

Dr. Hexu Liu

Third Advisor

Dr. Azim Houshyar


Deterioration prediction models, condition assessment, concrete bridge decks, machine learning


Bridges play a significant role in the U.S. economy. The number of the bridges in the U.S. exceeds six hundred thousand. Almost one third of them are considered structurally deficient and will require more than $164 billion to repair or replace. Identifying the factors that affect the performance of concrete bridge decks during its service life is critical to the development of an accurate condition assessment and deterioration prediction model. Accurate bridge deck deterioration models can provide vital information for predicting short- and long-term behavior of concrete bridge decks and minimizing costly routine inspection and maintenance activities. Therefore, the main goal of this dissertation is to develop a deterioration prediction model for concrete bridge decks that is based on the National Bridge Inventory (NBI) database.

To achieve the goal, five deterioration prediction models for concrete bridge decks were developed using Multinomial Logistic Regression, Decision Tree, Artificial Neural Network, k-Nearest Neighbors and Naïve Bayesian machine learning techniques. Michigan bridge deck data from NBI between the years1992 to 2015 were used for training the various prediction models. The results show that the performance of all five developed models were acceptable. However, the artificial neural network achieved the highest accuracy in the validation process. Additionally, bridge decks age, area, average daily traffic, and skew angle are found to be significant factors in the deterioration of concrete bridge decks. Furthermore, it was observed that bridge decks could stay in their condition rating more than the typical 2-year inspection interval, suggesting that inspection schedules could be extended for certain bridges that had slower deterioration rates.

The contributions of this work include 1) the development of an optimized deterioration prediction model that can be used in the condition assessment process for concrete bridge decks, 2)the identification of the factors that have the most impact on concrete bridge deck deterioration,and 3) demonstrating that the inspection schedule can be longer than 2 years for bridges that do not deteriorate fast which can lead to cost and time savings. Future work can include the following:

(1)developing deterioration prediction models for concrete bridge decks using deep learning techniques; (2) developing deterioration prediction models for other bridge specific elements (i.e., superstructure and substructure) using multivariant analysis; (3) developing deterioration prediction models for other (or all) U.S. states using the framework developed in this research; and (4) investigating the prospect of revising the mandated inspection interval beyond the 2-year period.

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