Estimating Dispersion Parameter of Negative Binomial Distribution for Analysis of Crash Data Academic Article uri icon


  • The objective of this study is to improve the estimation of the dispersion parameter of the negative binomial distribution for modeling motor vehicle collisions. The negative binomial distribution is widely used to model count data such as traffic crash data, which often exhibit low sample mean values and small sample sizes. Under such situations, the most commonly used methods for estimating the dispersion parameterthe method of moment and the maximum likelihood estimatemay become inaccurate and unstable. A bootstrapped maximum likelihood method is proposed to improve the estimation of the dispersion parameter. The proposed method combines the technique of bootstrap resampling with the maximum likelihood estimation method to obtain better estimates of the dispersion parameter. The performance of the bootstrapped maximum likelihood estimate is compared with the method of moment and the maximum likelihood estimates through Monte Carlo simulations. To validate the simulation results, the methods are applied to observed data collected at four-leg unsignalized intersections in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Overall, the results show that the proposed bootstrap maximum likelihood method produces smaller biases and more stable estimates. The improvements are more pronounced with small samples and low sample means.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, Y., Ye, Z., & Lord, D.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Yunlong||Ye, Zhirui||Lord, Dominique

publication date

  • January 2007