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A novel method for predicting and mapping the presence of sun glare using Google Street View

Authors: Xiaojiang Li*, Temple University/MIT
Topics: Transportation Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Google Street View, GeoAI, deep learning,
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The sun glare is one of the major environmental hazards that cause traffic accidents. Every year, many people died and injured in traffic accidents related to sun glare. Providing accurate information about when and where sun glare happens would be helpful to prevent sun glare caused traffic accidents and save lives. In this study, we proposed to use publicly accessible Google Street View (GSV) panorama images to estimate and predict the occurrence of sun glare. GSV images have view sight similar to drivers, which would make GSV images suitable for estimating the visibility of sun glare to drivers. A recently developed convolutional neural network algorithm was used to segment GSV images and predict obstructions on sun glare. Based on the predicted obstructions for given locations, we further estimated the time windows of sun glare by estimating the sun positions and the relative angles between drivers and the sun for those locations. We conducted a case study in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Results show that the method can predict the presence of sun glare precisely. The proposed method would provide an important tool for drivers and traffic planners to mitigate the sun glare and decrease the potential traffic accidents caused by the sun glare.

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