Abstract

Deterioration models can be successfully deployed only if decision-makers trust the modelling outcomes and are aware of model uncertainties. Our study aims to address this issue by developing a set of clearly understandable metrics to assess the performance of sewer deterioration models from an end-user perspective. The developed metrics are used to benchmark the performance of a statistical model, namely, GompitZ based on survival analysis and Markov-chains, and a machine learning model, namely, Random Forest, an ensemble learning method based on decision trees. The models have been trained with the extensive CCTV dataset of the sewer network of Berlin, Germany (115,258 inspections). At network level, both models give satisfactory outcomes with deviations between predicted and inspected condition distributions below 5%. At pipe level, the statistical model does not perform better than a simple random model, which attributes randomly a condition class to each inspected pipe, whereas the machine learning model provides satisfying performance. 66.7% of the pipes inspected in bad condition have been predicted correctly. The machine learning approach shows a strong potential for supporting operators in the identification of pipes in critical condition for inspection programs whereas the statistical approach is more adapted to support strategic rehabilitation planning.

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