Non-parametric machine learning methods for evaluating the effects of traffic accident duration on freeways

Ying Lee, Chien Hung Wei, Kai Chon Chao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Traffic accidents usually cause congestion and increase travel-times. The cost of extra travel time and fuel consumption due to congestion is huge. Traffic operators and drivers expect an accurately forecasted accident duration to reduce uncertainty and to enable the implementation of appropriate strategies. This study demonstrates two non-parametric machine learning methods, namely the k-nearest neighbour method and artificial neural network method, to construct accident duration prediction models. The factors influencing the occurrence of accidents are numerous and complex. To capture this phenomenon and improve the performance of accident duration prediction, the models incorporated various data including accident characteristics, traffic data, illumination, weather conditions, and road geometry characteristics. All raw data are collected from two public agencies and were integrated and cross-checked. Before model development, a correlation analysis was performed to reduce the scale of interrelated features or variables. Based on the performance comparison results, an artificial neural network model can provide good and reasonable prediction for accident duration with mean absolute percentage error values less than 30%, which are better than the prediction results of a k-nearest neighbour model. Based on comparison results for circumstances, the Model which incorporated significant variables and employed the ANN method can provide a more accurate prediction of accident duration when the circumstances involved the day time or drunk driving than those that involved night time and did not involve drunk driving. Empirical evaluation results reveal that significant variables possess a major influence on accident duration prediction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-104
Number of pages14
JournalArchives of Transport
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation


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