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Comparison of Sichel and Negative Binomial Models in Hotspot Identification

Publication Information

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Identification of crash hot spots is the critical component of the highway safety management process. Errors in hot spot identification (HSID) may result in the inefficient use of resources for safety improvements. One HSID method that is based on the empirical Bayesian (EB) method has been widely used as an effective approach for identifying crash-prone sites. For the EB method, the negative binomial (NB) model is usually needed to obtain the EB estimates. Recently, some studies have shown that the Sichel (SI) model can be easily used in the EB modeling framework and potentially yield better EB estimates. The objective of this study was to compare the performance of the two crash prediction (SI and NB) models in identifying hot spots with the EB method. To accomplish the objective of this study, empirical crash data collected at highway segments in Texas were used to generate simulated crash counts. Three commonly used HSID methods (simple ranking, confidence interval, and EB) were applied with the use of simulated data. False positives, false negatives, and false identifications were calculated and compared across the methods. The simulation results in this study suggested that the SI-based EB method could consistently provide a better HSID result than the NB-based EB method. Moreover, EB methods yielded the lowest error percentage of the three HSID methods.

This study confirmed that the EB technique was an effective method for identifying hazardous sites. On the basis of the findings in this study, it is recommended that transportation safety researchers consider the SI model as an alternative crash prediction model when the EB approach is used.



Wu, L., Zou, Y., & Lord, D. (2014). Comparison of Sichel and Negative Binomial Models in Hot Spot Identification. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2460(1), 107–116.

Publishing Date:
January 2014
FHWA Program(s):
AMRP Program(s):
Safety Data and Analysis
FHWA Activities:
Highway Safety Information System
Subject Area:
Safety and Human Factors