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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 958206, 10 pages
Research Article

Application of the Empirical Bayes Method with the Finite Mixture Model for Identifying Accident-Prone Spots

1Key Laboratory of Road and Traffic Engineering of Ministry of Education, Tongji University, Shanghai 201804, China
2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Box 352700, Seattle, WA 98195-2700, USA
3Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, Texas A&M University, 3136 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-3136, USA
4Institute of Oceanology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China

Received 18 January 2015; Accepted 2 April 2015

Academic Editor: Paolo Maria Mariano

Copyright © 2015 Yajie Zou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hotspot identification (HSID) is an important component of the highway safety management process. A number of methods have been proposed to identify hotspots. Among these methods, previous studies have indicated that the empirical Bayes (EB) method can outperform other methods for identifying hotspots, since the EB method combines the historical crash records of the site and expected number of crashes obtained from a safety performance function (SPF) for similar sites. However, the SPFs are usually developed based on a large number of sites, which may contain heterogeneity in traffic characteristic. As a result, the hotspot identification accuracy of EB methods can possibly be affected by SPFs, when heterogeneity is present in crash data. Thus, it is necessary to consider the heterogeneity and homogeneity of roadway segments when using EB methods. To address this problem, this paper proposed three different classification-based EB methods to identify hotspots. Rural highway crash data collected in Texas were analyzed and classified into different groups using the proposed methods. Based on the modeling results for Texas crash dataset, it is found that one proposed classification-based EB method performs better than the standard EB method as well as other HSID methods.