This paper presents the effect of isolator and substructure properties as well as the frequency characteristics and intensity of the ground motion on the performance of seismic-isolated bridges (SIBs) and examines some critical design clauses in the AASHTO Guide Specification for Seismic Isolation Design. For this purpose, a parametric study, involving more than 800 non-linear time history analyses of simplified structural models representative of typical SIBs, is conducted. The results from the parametric study are then used to derive important design recommendations and conclusions that may be used by bridge engineers to arrive to a more sound and economical design of SIBs. It is found that the SIB response is a function of the peak ground acceleration to peak ground velocity ratio of the Ground motion. Thus, the choice of the seismic ground motion according to the characteristics of the bridge site is crucial for a correct design of the SIB. It is also found that the characteristic strength of the isolator may be chosen based on the intensity and frequency characteristics of the ground motion. Furthermore, the isolator post-elastic stiffness is found to have a notable effect on the response of SIBs. Copyright (c) 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.