Develop a Rational Approach to Performing Rail Structure Interaction Analysis (RSI) and for Using the Results of the Analysis in Transit Bridge Design

Rail structure interaction (RSI) is the detailed study of the complex nonlinear interactions and forces exchanged between railway tracks and bridge structures. RSI induces a nonnegligible combination of loads, displacements, and dynamic effects on longer span bridges utilizing continuous welded rail. An RSI analysis is required to understand the force transfer mechanism and stresses induced in the rail. Rail displacement relative to the bridge superstructure and transmission of forces to bridge components also is part of the analysis. The interaction effects include thermal effects between the rail and superstructure, longitudinal deformation of the substructure under temperature loads, train braking/traction loads, seismic loading, and vertical live load effects. These forces and effects become even more significant on curved bridges utilizing direct fixation tracks. Most transit agencies require an RSI analysis be performed on their bridges or systems, and their RSI provisions vary greatly on parameters, methodology, and acceptance criteria. There are no industry-wide RSI analysis guidelines or acceptance criteria within the US transit sector, and most agencies do not address the utilization of RSI results in their design.  It is necessary to develop recommendations for the methodology of analysis based on a rational approach and research. Additionally, criteria for evaluating and integrating the RSI results into bridge design are needed. The objective of this research is to provide guidance on developing and implementing RSI analysis to transit agencies and designers, as well as incorporating the RSI analysis results into the design of applicable transit structures and components.


  • English


  • Funding: $268000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project D-26

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Transit Cooperative Research Program

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

    Federal Transit Administration

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

    Garcia-Colberg, Mariela

  • Start Date: 20241130
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01902058
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project D-26
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Dec 13 2023 12:26PM