Numerous bridge management systems have been developed around the world for different bridge administrations and agencies. These systems are mostly built on common tasks and models aiming at cost optimal maintenance of a bridge stock. The main task is the prioritization and ranking of bridges in a network. However, the level of inspections, the procedures used for the evaluation of load carrying capacity and various other criteria for bridge monitoring and safety change from one administration to another. In Turkey, the bridges are managed by the General Directorate of Highways which maintains a database inventory of bridges in which numerous parameters defining the characteristics of these bridges are stored. In addition to the inventory, a visual bridge inspection manual serves as the official guide for the field inspections. It presents the condition states and their descriptions that must be assigned to bridge elements during an inspection. A comprehensive project is also underway at the Directorate for the development of a road management system based on a geographic information system. This paper presents the process of establishing the tasks and requirements for a bridge management system that needs to be tailored to the specific requirements of the Directorate. Currently, the decisions on maintenance, repair and strengthening and prioritization are made based on engineering judgment and the needs of the Regional Directorates. An initial detailed inspection program needs to be developed and implemented to provide the necessary data for the management system. Evaluation of the costs of different maintenance strategies must be determined. Deterioration, cost and optimization models are the main elements of the analysis part of any bridge management system. These models must be carefully selected to fit the needs of the administration at the management level.