A Perceptional Investigation into the Adoption of Timber Bridges: A National Comparative Study

Robert L. Smith, Robert Bush, Scott A. Bowe


This study follows a 1993 study by the authors that investigated the perceptions of rural bridge materials in twenty-eight states. This current research evaluates the perceptions in twenty continental states not included in the first study. These results are then compared directly with the 1993 research. Perceptions of major rural bridge materials by three distinct groups of decision-makers were investigated within four geographic regions of the United States. Timber, when compared to prestressed concrete, steel, and reinforced concrete was rated lowest in perceived performance within each group and region. Timber was also compared to prestressed concrete, steel, and reinforced concrete on eight preselected attributes. Timber was rated lowest on seven of the eight attributes including low maintenance, pleasing aesthetics, environmentally safe, low cost, easy to design, long life, and high strength. Only on the attribute of Easy to construct did timber rate above reinforced concrete, and timber never rated higher than prestressed concrete on any attribute.


Timber bridges;rural;perceptions;decision-makers;performance;geographic region

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