Day-to-Night Street View Image Generation for 24-Hour Urban Scene Auditing Using Generative AI

Zhiyi Liu, Tingting Li, Tianyi Ren, Da Chen, Wenjing Li, Waishan Qiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A smarter city should be a safer city. Nighttime safety in metropolitan areas has long been a global concern, particularly for large cities with diverse demographics and intricate urban forms, whose citizens are often threatened by higher street-level crime rates. However, due to the lack of night-time urban appearance data, prior studies based on street view imagery (SVI) rarely addressed the perceived night-time safety issue, which can generate important implications for crime prevention. This study hypothesizes that night-time SVI can be effectively generated from widely existing daytime SVIs using generative AI (GenAI). To test the hypothesis, this study first collects pairwise day-and-night SVIs across four cities diverged in urban landscapes to construct a comprehensive day-and-night SVI dataset. It then trains and validates a day-to-night (D2N) model with fine-tuned brightness adjustment, effectively transforming daytime SVIs to nighttime ones for distinct urban forms tailored for urban scene perception studies. Our findings indicate that: (1) the performance of D2N transformation varies significantly by urban-scape variations related to urban density; (2) the proportion of building and sky views are important determinants of transformation accuracy; (3) within prevailed models, CycleGAN maintains the consistency of D2N scene conversion, but requires abundant data. Pix2Pix achieves considerable accuracy when pairwise day–and–night-night SVIs are available and are sensitive to data quality. StableDiffusion yields high-quality images with expensive training costs. Therefore, CycleGAN is most effective in balancing the accuracy, data requirement, and cost. This study contributes to urban scene studies by constructing a first-of-its-kind D2N dataset consisting of pairwise day-and-night SVIs across various urban forms. The D2N generator will provide a cornerstone for future urban studies that heavily utilize SVIs to audit urban environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112
JournalJournal of Imaging
Volume10
Issue number5
Early online date7 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2024

Data Availability Statement

Data, models, or codes supporting this study’s findings are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Keywords

  • day-to-night
  • generative AI
  • night scene
  • nighttime perception
  • street view imagery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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