Yellow taxis are involved in fewer accidents compared with blue taxis, according to the results of a study by researchers from the National University of Singapore.
The study found an explicit link between the color of taxi cabs and their safety in terms of accident rate, empirically establishing a connection between the two factors in addition to the anecdotal evidence of dark-colored vehicles being involved in more accidents.
Yellow Taxi Cabs Are Safer
The study, which was published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analyzed millions of detailed taxi, driver, and accident details over a period of three years from Comfort Delgro, the largest taxi company in Singapore, the fleet of which is dominated by yellow-colored and blue-colored vehicles. The company operates 4,175 yellow taxi cabs and 12,525 blue taxi cabs.
The findings of the analysis found that yellow taxis were involved in 6.1 fewer accidents each month per 1,000 taxis, which is equivalent to a difference of 9 percent. Yellow taxis were involved in 65.6 accidents per month per 1,000 units, compared with 71.7 accidents per month per 1,000 units for blue taxis.
With the company using the similar vehicle models and applying the same maintenance policy across all its units, the researchers ruled out other factors that could have contributed to the fewer accidents for yellow taxis, including driving speed differences, how many stops the taxi cab makes, and the distance covered by the vehicle. As such, the color of the taxi cabs was left as the primary reason for the difference in accident rates.
The study suggests that the higher visibility of yellow-colored taxis is the primary reason why they are safer from accidents compared with blue-colored taxis. Yellow taxi cabs are more noticeable on the road by other drivers, making them easier to avoid.
The Significance Of The Taxi Safety Study
A spokesperson for Comfort Delgro stated that the company is interested in the findings of the study, and that it will be taking a closer look at the research.
The researchers estimated that if Comfort Delgro would change the color of all its taxi cabs to yellow, the company would be able to save an equivalent of about $1.42 million per year in lost revenue from sidelined taxis and repair costs. In addition, the number of accidents that the company's taxis will be involved in would be reduced by 917 per year.
Yellow has been one the more popular colors for taxi cabs since the Chicago Yellow Cab Company was launched in 1907. The company chose the color from the results of a survey that asked respondents on what is the most noticeable color, with yellow coming out on top especially with black being the color of most of the other vehicles back then.
It seems that, after a century, yellow remains the best choice of color for taxi cabs. This is probably why other passenger vehicles such as school buses retain the color, and could give public transportation operators a needed push to change the color of their vehicles to yellow.