Unsupervised artificial neural network for efficient mapping of doweled concrete pavement joints condition

Senthan Mathavan, Mujib Rahman, Martyn Stonecliffe-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Concrete pavement joint evaluation involves a number of assessment criteria, such as deflection near the joint, load transfer efficiency of the dowels and severity of voids under the slab. Although there are well defined thresholds for each of these parameters, often there arises a situation where each of the considered parameters lends contradictory assessment that leads to a considerable subjectivity in the evaluation process. A Self-Organizing Map (SOM), an unsupervised learning procedure in artificial neural network, is utilised for the first time to map the joint condition of concrete pavements from Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD) deflection bowls. A novel methodology is proposed for labelling the network, whereby pavement engineering expertise can be directly used in a SOM for consistent deflection data classification in joint evaluation. The effectiveness of the trained network is demonstrated by using joint assessment parameters; namely, load transfer efficiency (LTE), void intercepts and absolute deflection. The joints were classified as good, marginal or poor. For the three parameters based SOM classification, an accuracy of 65-70% was obtained; this improves to 87.5% when the SOM was trained with 2-parameters (LTE and absolute deflection). However, when the SOM was tested with the data classified as 'good', accuracy improves to around 90%. Therefore, a SOM can be a powerful supplementary tool for a consistent and non-subjective evaluation of concrete pavement joints.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-296
JournalInternational Journal of Pavement Research and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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