Finite element models of a benchmark footbridge

Fiammetta Venuti, Marco Domaneschi, Marc Lizana, Branko Glisic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Modern footbridges are often lively structures, characterized by natural frequencies that fall in the range of pedestrian activities, such as walking, running, and jumping. Therefore, serviceability assessment under human-induced excitation is crucial both at the design stage and during the footbridge lifetime. This paper presents and validates two different FE models of an existing footbridge with very complex geometry: the Streicker Footbridge at the Princeton University Campus. It represents a benchmark in the field as a testbed for vibration serviceability assessments under pedestrian excitation. The real structure is equipped with strain and temperature sensors that are currently used to collect measurements in both static and dynamic modes for research and educational purposes in Structural Health Monitoring (SHM). Based on detailed drawings of the Streicker Footbridge, a three-dimensional beam-based model was developed to represent the complex behavior of the full-scale benchmark bridge. Subsequently, a more refined discretization of the bridge deck adopting shell elements was inserted. The bridge Finite Element models were validated against available SHM data concerning static and dynamic tests. The relevant ANSYS APDL script files along with an example of pedestrian jumping application are available upon request for further research developments on the relationship between pedestrians and the benchmark footbridge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9024
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Instrumentation
  • General Engineering
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


  • Benchmark footbridge
  • FE model
  • Running pedestrians
  • SHM
  • Vibration serviceability


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