Exploring the U.S. National Bridge Inventory with Neo4j— Part 1: Background
The United States infrastructure is in a state of significant deterioration. As of the 2017 ASCE Infrastructure Report the overall bridge rating is a C+ with 9.1% of the bridges rated as structurally deficient and approximately 4 out of every 10 bridges being of 50 years of age or older.
Bridges are only one of many components that makeup the overall United States infrastructure, but are easily one of the most recognizable due to how we interact with them on a daily basis. Bridges allow us great access across rivers, valleys, and other roadways permitting us to travel more easily. Every year there are multiple reports of bridges around the U.S. that are closed due to threat of collapse or that collapse unexpectedly.
One of the most recent infamous cases was the catastrophic failure of the I-35W Mississippi River bridge that collapsed on August 1, 2007. This series will not elaborate on the cause and analysis as there are plenty of reports and commentary about this fateful event. What matters is that in less than 10 seconds a major city lifeline crumpled into the mighty river below.
This series will focus on the exploration the United States National Bridge Inventory (NBI), a publicly available database that represents an annual snapshot of all bridges in the 50 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The tool of choice is Neo4j, a labeled property graph database.