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Video-based vehicle detection is one of the most valuable techniques for the intelligentization of modern transportation system. The famous widely used video-based vehicle detection technique is the background subtraction method. The key problem of this method is how to compute and update the background effectively and efficiently. A new background generation method was proposed. The method utilized the Gaussian distribution to model each point of the background image. To deal with the sudden change of the brightness, the mean brightness of the regions with no moving objects in them was used to make compensation. Results showed that the proposed method could generate and update the background quickly and efficiently.