Pan, G., Fu, L., Thakali, L. (2017). Development of a global road safety performance function using deep neural networks. Transportation Research Record: International Journal of Transportation Science & Technology, 6(3):159-173.
This paper explores the idea of applying a machine learning approach to developing a global road safety performance function (SFP) that can be used to predict the expected crash frequencies of different highways from different regions. A deep belief network (DBN) – one of the most popular deep learning models is introduced as an alternative to the traditional regression models for crash modeling. An extensive empirical study is conducted using three real world crash datasets covering six classes of highways as defined by location (urban vs. rural), number of lanes, access control, and region. The study involves a number of experiments aiming at addressing several critical questions pertaining to the relative performance of the DBN in terms of network structure, training method, data size, and generalization ability, as compared to the traditional regression models. The experimental results have shown that a DBN model could be trained with different crash datasets with prediction performance being at least comparable to that of the locally calibrated negative binomial (NB) model.