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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/I03839X/1
Title: Pedestrian Interaction with Lively Low-Frequency Structures
Principal Investigator: Zivanovic, Dr S
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Maurer Soehne GmbH & Co KG
Department: Sch of Engineering
Organisation: University of Warwick
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 20 October 2011 Ends: 19 April 2014 Value (£): 90,240
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Structural Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 Sep 2011 Process Environment & Sustainability Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The expectation for high-quality infrastructure and improved quality of life is at its highest point in contemporary society. At the same time the world is experiencing fast urbanisation, pressure on natural resources and ambitious requirements to provide a sustainable built environment. Structural engineers are responding by utilising high-strength materials and designing more efficient and lighter structures. Coupled with innovations in structural forms and aesthetics, all these factors lead towards lighter and therefore 'livelier' (i.e. more vibration prone) structures. Examples of known (lively) footbridges, building floors and staircases affected by excessive vibrations and unfit for the intended purpose are numerous, despite the tendency to keep the problematic cases far from the public eye due to damaging commercial reputations to those involved.

It is generally accepted now that vibration serviceability requirements are governing the design and determining the cost of these structures, many of which are exposed and suffer from the dynamic excitation induced by human walking. Publicity of the infamous excessive sway of the Millennium Bridge, London, under crowd loading ten years ago, and subsequent expensive retrofitting, demonstrated an urgent need to develop fundamental understanding of pedestrian behaviour on lively low-frequency structures. While research into pedestrian interaction with laterally swaying bridges has since intensified, the interaction with a more frequent class of structures that are prone to excessive vibrations in the vertical direction has been progressed little.

The aim of this project is to characterise the interaction between pedestrians and low-frequency structures that are lively in the vertical direction. The interaction occurs because humans are highly sophisticated and sensitive dynamic systems who react to and adapt to the surrounding (vibrating) environment. Current understanding of this phenomenon is limited and consequently it is ignored in design guidelines. However, it is this understanding that is necessary for achieving high-quality infrastructure fit for intended use. This project will make significant contribution in this direction through two novel developments:

I) A unique experimental facility consisting of a low-frequency structure and equipment for monitoring both human locomotion and the structural vibration will be developed. This will overcome the current lack of suitable facilities of this kind and it will enable the collection of a comprehensive set of data that characterises human behaviour on lively structures.

II) Based on experimental observations, a numerical model of the interaction between humans and the structure will be developed.

The outputs of this project will significantly enhance understanding of structural vibration performance in operating conditions leading to more efficient and controllable design.

Although this two-year project will be focussed on studying the human-structure interaction, the facility to be developed will represent an essential experimental platform for future multidisciplinary research collaborations. This will extend the legacy of this project beyond the date of its completion.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Project URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/eng/staff/sz/projects/sz_fg
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.warwick.ac.uk