Proposed AASHTO Guidelines for Applications of Unmanned Aerial Systems Technologies for Element-Level Bridge Inspection

There has been increasing interest and use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in the past 10 years. One application of considerable interest to transportation agencies and their private sector partners is supplementing highway bridge inspections. There is particular interest in performing safety inspections of bridge elements that are typically costly for bridge owners. By using UAS, the bridge superstructure and substructure can be assessed without requiring closing lanes of traffic or exposing inspectors to traffic. For bridges over rivers or other water bodies, UAS can collect data underneath or along the fascia without the need to close traffic lanes to use a snooper truck or similar system for inspection of hard-to-access bridge elements. However, research has not yet focused on the ability of UAS technologies to support collection of element-level bridge inspection data in accordance with the AASHTO Manual for Bridge Element Inspection (MBEI) methodology and format. There is a need to provide guidelines for state departments of transportation (DOTs) to select the appropriate UAS technologies for element-level bridge inspection. This research will help foster innovation in bridge inspection and safety. The objective of this research was to develop AASHTO guidelines to assist state DOTs with using UAS technologies for inspection and assessment of bridge element conditions.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $340000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 12-122

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Abu-Hawash, Ahmad

  • Performing Organizations:

    Michael Baker International

    310 New Pointe Drive
    Ridgeland, MS  United States  39157
  • Principal Investigators:

    McConnell, Alicia

  • Start Date: 20210511
  • Expected Completion Date: 20231111
  • Actual Completion Date: 20231111

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01739626
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 12-122
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 19 2020 5:36PM