Safety Management

Using Topological Data Analysis to determine better directions for financial investment.

When considering serious problems such as the safety of pedestrians and/or motorists, or mitigating excessive traffic in areas where there is no room for expansion and multiple transportation types are used, the amount of data that needs to be processed in order to properly predict what types of projects would be the most effective is voluminous. Currently there are any number of ways that the data can be analyzed. This has led to ongoing discussions of which of these methods is correct and whether or not tax dollars are being used wisely.

I propose that DOT consider adopting an emerging mathematical tool to analyze these large datasets. That tool is Topological Data Analysis (TDA). This new method uses the shape and characteristics of the data set to analyze it in a way that is not possible in current methods. In an article published on the Institute for Advanced Study's web page (at https://www.ias.edu/ideas/2013/lesnick-topological-data-analysis ) Dr. Michael Lesnick describes this emerging method of analytics. Toward the end of the article, he tells of a study that used a dataset encompassing a 24,479-dimensional space to discover a new sub-type of breast cancer. This type of analytical ability would open new possibilities and an increased confidence in where we plan for funding to be spent.

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Idea No. 176