DOI: 10.3390/app14041444 ISSN: 2076-3417

Condition Rating Prediction for Highway Bridge Based on Elman Neural Networks and Markov Chains

Tian Zhang, Haonan Chen, Xinjia Cui, Pengfei Li, Yunfeng Zou
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • General Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • General Materials Science

Bridges are a critical component of transportation infrastructure, playing a vital role in connectivity. The safe operation of bridges demands significant resource and capital investment, particularly as the operation phase is the most extended period in a bridge’s life cycle. Therefore, the efficient allocation of resources and funds is crucial for the maintenance and repair of bridges. This study addresses the need to predict changes in bridge condition over time. The commonly used state-based Markov chain method for bridge condition rating prediction is straightforward but limited by its assumptions of homogeneity and memorylessness. To improve upon this, we propose a novel method that integrates an Elman neural network with a Markov chain to predict the bridge condition rating. Initially, the ReliefF algorithm conducts a sensitivity analysis on bridge features to obtain the importance ranking of these features that affect the bridge condition. Next, six significant features are selected for data classification: bridge age, average daily truck traffic volume, material type, skew angle between bridges and roads, bridge deck structure type, and bridge type. The Elman neural network is then trained to train a prediction model for bridge condition ratings using the classified data, which can predict the condition levels of bridges. The Markov chain’s transition probability matrix is derived using a genetic algorithm to match the deterioration curve predicted by the Elman neural network. This proposed method, when applied to actual bridge data, demonstrates its effectiveness as evidenced by the condition rating of an actual bridge.

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