Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Yellow taxis have fewer accidents than blue taxis because yellow is more visible than blue

Ho, Teck-Hua and Chong, Juin Kuan and Xia, Xiaoyu (2017): Yellow taxis have fewer accidents than blue taxis because yellow is more visible than blue. Published in: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences No. PNAS Early Edition www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1612551114 (March 2017)

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Abstract

Is there a link between the color of a taxi and how many accidents it has? An analysis of 36 mo of detailed taxi, driver, and accident data (comprising millions of data points) from the largest taxi company in Singapore suggests that there is an explicit link. Yellow taxis had 6.1 fewer accidents per 1,000 taxis per month than blue taxis, a 9% reduction in accident probability. We rule out driver difference as an explanatory variable and empirically show that because yellow taxis are more noticeable than blue taxis—especially when in front of another vehicle, and in street lighting—other drivers can better avoid hitting them, directly reducing the accident rate. This finding can play a significant role when choosing colors for public transportation and may save lives as well as millions of dollars.

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