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Initial efforts to define and collect bridge element data in the United States started in the late 1990s with the development and implementation of bridge management systems (BMSs). Over the years, the bridge management community provided feedback and made suggestions to improve the bridge element inspection methodology.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP Synthesis 585: Bridge Element Data Collection and Use documents current state departments of transportation (DOTs) practices and experiences regarding collecting element-level data and ensuring data accuracy. The synthesis also examines how state DOTs are using the data from inspection reports.

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