In the past, research on structures was concentrated on their behaviour under load without giving corresponding attention to studies of the loads which cause that behaviour. Because of this, there are many inconsistencies between the accuracy and refinement of design methods and the underlying assumptions regarding design live loads. The value of accuracy and refinement in design methods is very much diminished if it is not matched by similar qualities in the assessment of design live loads. This report compares the highway bridge loadings of different countries. The historical background of highway bridge loadings is given and a review made of studies so far carried out. The loading standards in 18 countries are then compared in terms of the maximum bending moment and shear force for simply supported spans up to 100 metres. It is concluded that there is very wide variation in the loading standards of different countries and the implications of some of these variations are emphasised.

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