Yellow taxis less likely to get into accidents

You may only want to hail yellow taxis: The brightly colored cabs are involved in fewer accidents than blue ones, because yellow is more visible, according to a new study.

The researchers came to the conclusion after studying three years of traffic statistics in Singapore.

Scientists tracked 4,175 yellow taxis and 12,525 blue ones from the same company in Singapore. Under street lighting, yellow taxis were 19% less likely to be rear-ended than blue, compared with 5% less likely to be rear-ended during the day.

9% How much less likely an individual in a yellow taxi will experience an accident when compared with someone in a blue taxi.

The researchers calculated that switching the colour of all taxis in the fleet to yellow could result in 917 fewer accidents per year and generate annual savings of $2 million. Hertz, a German immigrant who came to Chicago when he was five, sold the company in 1929 to focus on renting cars.

"It could turn out that a simple commercial decision made by the Chicago Yellow Cab Company more than a century ago has an inadvertent, positively impactful economic and potentially life-saving outcome that we can adopt and expand on, starting today", the study said.

The study was led by Professor Ho Teck-Hua, a behavioural scientist and deputy president (Research & Technology) at NUS. "Our results are also noteworthy to smaller taxi companies and to drivers who use their private vehicles as taxis to work for private-hire auto services".

A study by researchers at the National University of Singapore and Chinese University of Hong Kong shows that the colour a taxi is painted is a major factor in determining its safety on the road.

They concluded that as yellow is an "uncommon" colour for private cars, yellow taxis are thus more noticeable than blue taxis. Assuming an average fix cost of S$1,000 per auto and a downtime of 6 days, ComfortDelGro could save up to S$2 million a year, said the researchers.

Several previous studies have suggested some link between vehicle colour and accident risk. Over 38,000 students from 100 countries enrich the community with their diverse social and cultural perspectives. The University has established many research partnerships and joint laboratories with academic institutions, industry leaders and government agencies. The University also strives to create a supportive and innovative environment to promote creative enterprise within its community.

  • Carolyn Briggs