Road Functional Classification Using Pattern Recognition Techniques

Gaetano Bosurgi, Orazio Pellegrino, Giuseppe Sollazzo


The existing international standards suggest a methodology to assign a specific functional class to a road, by the values of some features, both geometrical and use-related. Sometimes, these characteristics are in contrast with each other and direct the analyst towards conflicting classes for a road or, worse, one or more of these features vary heterogeneously along the road. In these conditions, the analyst assigns the class that, by his capability and experience, he retains the most appropriate, in a very subjective way. On the contrary, the definition of an automatic procedure assuring an objective identification of the most appropriate functional class for each road would be desirable. Such a solution would be useful, especially when the road belongs to the existing infrastructure network or when it was not realised by out of date standards. The proposed procedure regards the definition of a classification model based on Pattern Recognition techniques, considering 13 input variables that, depending on their assumed value, direct the analyst towards one of the four functional classes defined by the Italian standards. In this way, it is possible to classify a road even when its characteristics are heterogeneous and conflicting. Moreover, the authors analysed the model limitations, in terms of errors and dataset size, considering observation and variable numbers. This approach, representing a beneficial decision support tool for the decision-maker, is exploitable for both planned and existing roads and becomes particularly advantageous for road agencies aiming to optimally allocate their limited funds for specific interventions assuring the achievement of a fixed functional class.


functional classification; pattern recognition; road classification; road network

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DOI: 10.7250/bjrbe.2019-14.448


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