Experimental identification of pedestrian-induced lateral forces on footbridges

Einar Thór Ingólfsson, Christos Georgakis, Francesco Ricciardelli, Jeppe Jönsson

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper presents a comprehensive experimental analysis of lateral forces generated by single pedestrians during continuous walking on a treadmill. Two different conditions are investigated; initially the treadmill is fixed and then it is laterally driven in a sinusoidal motion at varying combinations of frequencies (0.33-1.07 Hz) and amplitudes 4.5-48 mm). The experimental campaign involved seventy-one male and female human adults and covered approximately 55 km of walking distributed between 4954 individual tests. When walking on a laterally moving surface, motion-induced forces develop also at the frequency of the movement and are herewith quantified as equivalent velocity and acceleration proportional coefficients. Their dependency on both the vibration frequency and amplitude is presented, both in terms of mean values and probabilistically to illustrate the randomness associated with both intra and inter-subject variability. It is shown that the motion induced portion of the pedestrian load (on average) inputs energy into the structure in the frequency range (normalised by the average walking frequency) between approximately 0.6 and 1.2. Furthermore, it is shown that the load component in phase with the acceleration of the treadmill depends on the frequency of the movement, such that pedestrians (on average) add to the overall modal mass for low frequency motion and subtract from the overall modal mass at higher frequencies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sound and Vibration
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1265-1284
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Lateral vibration
  • Treadmill
  • Footbridges
  • Synchronisation

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