SINGAPORE — If you decide to call a taxi, you may be better off asking for a yellow one to pick you up. A new study finds you’re less likely to be in an accident when riding in an industry-standard yellow cab compared to blue ones.
Researchers at the National University of Singapore looked at 4,175 yellow taxis and 12,525 blue taxis in the country over the course of three full years, hoping to discover if either served as a safer option for passengers.
They also used data from the GPS logs of 3,000 drivers over a shorter three-month period to try to minimize the impact of external variables — such as those relating to driving speed, number of stops, and distance driven.
Lastly, the researchers made efforts to ensure that drivers of blue cabs or yellow cabs didn’t differ significantly in age, educational level, or driving experience.
The study ultimately found that those who manned yellow taxis were 9% less likely to be rear-ended than those who drove blue ones.
“The findings of our study suggest that colour visibility should play a major role in determining the colours used for public transport vehicles. A commercial decision to change all taxis to yellow may save lives and potentially reduce economic losses by millions of dollars,” says Professor Ho Teck Hua of the National University of Singapore, in a university release. “Our results are also noteworthy to smaller taxi companies and to drivers who use their private vehicles as taxis to work for private-hire car services,”
Interestingly, yellow cabs were even less susceptible to being rear-ended at night than during the day. A 19% decrease in accidents was found for yellow cabs driving under nighttime street lighting, as opposed to a 5% decrease during the day.
This finding leads to the authors’ conclusion: the noticeability of a bright yellow cab allows their drivers more reaction time to avoid an accident.
If all blue cabs turned yellow, it was estimated that Singaporean cab companies would save $1.4 million a year.
Further research may look into the effects of cab colors other than blue and yellow, along with how vehicle colors impact safety with ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.
The study was published in the journal National Academy of Sciences.