Although the widely acknowledged shortcomings of visual inspection have fueled significant advances in the areas of non-destructive evaluation and structural health monitoring (SHM) over the last several decades, the actual practice of bridge assessment has remained largely unchanged. The authors believe the lack of adoption, especially of SHM technologies, is related to the 'single structure' scenarios that drive most research. To overcome this, the authors have developed a concept for a rapid single-input, multiple-output (SIMO) impact testing device that will be capable of capturing modal parameters and estimating flexibility/deflection basins of common highway bridges during routine inspections. The device is composed of a trailer-mounted impact source (capable of delivering a 50 kip impact) and retractable sensor arms, and will be controlled by an automated data acquisition, processing and modal parameter estimation software. The research presented in this paper covers (a) the theoretical basis for SISO, SIMO and MIMO impact testing to estimate flexibility, (b) proof of concept numerical studies using a finite element model, and (c) a pilot implementation on an operating highway bridge. Results indicate that the proposed approach can estimate modal flexibility within a few percent of static flexibility; however, the estimated modal flexibility matrix is only reliable for the substructures associated with the various SIMO tests. To overcome this shortcoming, a modal 'stitching' approach for substructure integration to estimate the full Eigen vector matrix is developed, and preliminary results of these methods are also presented.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.