Performance indicators for structural systems and infrastructure networks

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Establishing consistent criteria for assessing the performance of structural systems and infrastructure networks is a critical component of communities' efforts to optimize investment decisions for the upkeep and renewal of the built environment. Although member-level performance and reliability assessment procedures are currently well-established, it is widely recognized that a member-oriented approach does not necessarily lead to an efficient utilization of limited resources when making decisions related to the management of existing deteriorating structures or lifeline systems, especially those that may be exposed to extreme events. For this reason, researchers have renewed their interests in developing system-level assessment methods as a basis to modern structural and infrastructure performance evaluation and design processes. Specifically, system-level performance metrics and characteristics such as reliability, redundancy, robustness, resilience, and risk continue to be refined. The objective of this paper is to extend the content of the accompanying paper on reliability-based performance indicators for structural members by reviewing proposals for the development and implementation of performance-based criteria for structural systems and infrastructure networks. The paper reviews established concepts of reliability design along with emerging ideas of performance-based and resilience-based design that are especially relevant for assessing and managing system-level risk. The paper also studies structural redundancy and robustness concepts as well as network-level performance metrics along with ranking approaches. Insights from these analyses reveal the need for transitioning structural and infrastructure design processes from a traditional component-level reliability-based approach, to one that seeks uniform levels of risk across scales (from structural systems to interconnected infrastructure networks across communities). Implementation examples are drawn from experiences with buildings, bridges, offshore oil and gas platforms, and a variety of infrastructure systems. The paper also reflects on promising avenues for pursuing practical and calibrated system-level performance indicators that support life cycle performance, safety, reliability, and risk of structural and infrastructure systems as integral parts of resilient communities.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Structural Engineering (United States)