In the seismic design of reinforced concrete (RC) bridge structures, there should be no brittle failures, such as shear failures, in the components, and a plastic hinge should be formed at the bottom of the bridge pier. These are important concepts in capacity design to guarantee the safety of bridges subjected to severe earthquakes. These concepts can maximise post-event operability and minimise the cost of repairing bridges after a severe earthquake. In this article, a reliability-based methodology to carry out capacity design with partial factors is proposed and applied to the seismic design of RC bridge structures. This ensures that (i) all of the components undergo the desired ductile failure mode, (ii) the damage due to an earthquake is induced only at the bottom of the bridge pier and (iii) the probability of failure is at most equal to a specified value.
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