Lane discretization is associated with the distribution density of lane-load points. The influence surface is then interpolated from this parameter. During lane definition, lane discretization is specified along and across the lane.

Mesh vs. Auto-mesh influence on lane discretization

Auto-meshing structural objects which are located within the lane footprint may create additional lane-discretization points because of the logic which generates discretization, described as follows:

  1. Place a lane-discretization point where the lane centerline intersects an edge of a line object (frames, cables, tendons, links) or an area object.
  2. Meet the specified lane-discretization density parameter by adding discretization points, if necessary.

This process is consistent with the instruction on the Lane Definition menu, which states that maximum discretization length is specified.

What values optimize accuracy and efficiency for Maximum Lane-Load Discretization Length along and across the lane?

Discretization on the order of 1/10 span length and 1/2 lane width is typically sufficient for overall superstructure and substructure behavior. Finer discretization may be necessary to capture certain local effects. Since influence analysis can be time-consuming, we recommend using the largest discretization size possible, especially during preliminary analyses, then possibly refining the discretization for final results. To graphically show and evaluate discretization, it may be useful to plot the influence lines for a few representative quantities.