IN 1907 John D. Hertz, the owner of a taxi firm in Chicago, asked some academics at the University of Chicago to do a piece of research for him. He wanted to know what colour he should paint his cabs in order to make them stand out among the sea of black vehicles that then inhabited American city streets. The researchers’ conclusion was: yellow. Now, more than a century later, a group of researchers at a different university have concluded that yellow was a wise choice for other reasons, too. In a study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Ho Teck Hua of the National University of Singapore and his colleagues show that yellow taxis are less likely to be involved in accidents.
Dr Ho’s research made use of a merger that took place, in 2002, between two Singaporean taxi companies. One of the precursor firms had a yellow fleet. The other’s was blue. The merged concern has continued that bichromatic tradition to this day. At the moment it owns 4,175 yellow taxis and 12,525 blue ones. All are the same model (a Hyundai Sonata) and all undergo the…Continue reading
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