Learning Incident Prediction Models Over Large Geographical Areas for Emergency Response Systems


Principled decision making in emergency response management necessitates the use of statistical models that predict the spatial-temporal likelihood of incident occurrence. These statistical models are then used for proactive stationing which allocates first responders across the spatial area in order to reduce overall response time. Traditional methods that simply aggregate past incidents over space and time fail to make useful short-term predictions when the spatial region is large and focused on fine-grained spatial entities like interstate highway networks. This is partially due to the sparsity of incidents with respect to the area in consideration. Further, accidents are affected by several covariates, and collecting, cleaning, and managing multiple streams of data from various sources is challenging for large spatial areas. In this paper, we highlight how this problem is being solved for the state of Tennessee, a state in the USA with a total area of over 100,000 sq. km. Our pipeline, based on a combination of synthetic resampling, non-spatial clustering, and learning from data can efficiently forecast the spatial and temporal dynamics of accident occurrence, even under sparse conditions. In the paper, we describe our pipeline that uses data related to roadway geometry, weather, historical accidents, and real-time traffic congestion to aid accident forecasting. To understand how our forecasting model can affect allocation and dispatch, we improve upon a classical resource allocation approach. Experimental results show that our approach can significantly reduce response times in the field in comparison with current approaches followed by first responders.