More data! Pedestrian accidents in NYC

KSI by time of day. KSI is pedestrians Killed or Seriously Injured per 100,000.

The city’s transportation planners released this report, which looks at 7,000 vehicular crashes involving pedestrians, on Aug. 16, 2010. It finds that jaywalkers fared better than those who waited at intersections, and that privately owned vehicles were more likely to be involved in a crash.

Gotta love the Times and the Internet. Visit http://documents.nytimes.com/pedestrian-study . It’s glossy and well-designed, and features some great graphics as well as statements that are good examples of the kind of incomplete discourse that can be persuasive in the wrong hands. The report mostly redeems itself in a quick skim, but something like these bullet points might be good in-class examples:

  • Manhattan has four times as many pedestrians killed or severely injured per mile of street compared to the other four boroughs.
  • 79% of crashes that kill or seriously injure pedestrians involve private automobiles as opposed to taxis, trucks and buses.
  • Serious pedestrian crashes involving unsafe speeds are twice as deadly as other such crashes.

I mean, doesn’t Manhattan have more pedestrians per mile? How would you measure that? Then, what’s the balance of private autos on the streets as opposed to taxis, trucks, and buses? If they’re 90% of the vehicles, the implication that they’re worse is ill-founded. Finally, “unsafe speeds”—why do you suppose they’re called unsafe? Because people get killed, right? So is this tautology surprising? But I’m getting picky; you gotta check out the report.

Here is a pair of sobering graphs:

graph showing age and gender of KSI victims
Who gets injured and killed in KSIs?
graph showing that male drivers predominate in killing pedestrians
Who are the drivers? Yikes.

Now: how can we get the microdata for this? I had it for all sorts of accidents in the old days—wonder if I can find it.

It will be interesting to see what data really takes off with the kids.

P.S. All thanks be to David Stein’s post on the AP Stat listserv for the alert!

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Tim Erickson

Math-science ed freelancer and sometime math teacher. In 2014–15, at Mills College in Oakland, California.

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