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Data about transport in London!

Road casualties in London in 2011

In late June TfL published a factsheet on road casualties in 2011, which you can find alongside previous versions here. There were 29,257 casualties recorded by the police in 2011 (inevitably an under-estimate, since many injuries don’t get reported, particularly the less serious ones). Of these, 159 were fatalities, 2,646 were serious injuries, and 26,452 were slight injuries.

The number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) fell 3% from 2010 to the lowest number since 1986 (the earliest year of police reporting at Greater London level). But there were huge differences in trend for different categories of road user: while the number of car occupant KSIs fell by 31% and the number of bus or coach occupants by 12%, the number of cycling KSIs increased by 22% and the number of pedestrian KSIs by 7%.

Of course, these divergent trends are partly due to different trends in traffic for each mode, with car traffic generally falling and cycling rising in recent years. But it’s very unlikely that car traffic fell by 31% or that cycling rose by 22%, so it is highly probable that the car casualty rate fell and the cycle casualty rate rose. We should get more evidence on casualty rates when DfT update this table and others in a month or so.

It is also worth noting that DfT publish very detailed data for every single recorded casualty recorded on data.gov.uk. The data is at case level so you can analyse it any way you like, but be warned that the data is quite complex (you may need to match vehicle records with casualty records, for example) so it might take some time to understand.

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Filed under: 2011, Data, London, Report, Safety, TfL

Traffic casualties in London since 1901

TfL’s most recent report on traffic casualties shows that 126 people died in collisions on London’s roads in 2010. While this figure represents a terrible loss of life, one which can and should be reduced, it is also – as TfL point out – the first time the number of road fatalities has fallen below 150 since their records began in the 1970s.

It is in fact possible to go further back in history then that. Statistics for 1901 onwards were collected by the London County Council and then the Greater London Council, first covering the Metropolitan Police District and then (from the mid 1960s) the Greater London area. Fortunately these two geographies match up fairly well – the Metropolitan Police District is larger than the Greater London area, but until around the mid 60s its outer reaches were sparsely populated enough to make little difference. Using LCC and GLC statistical reports found in the libraries of the London School of Economics and the Greater London Authority, we reconstructed trends of fatalities and total casualties (i.e. including ‘serious’ and ‘slight’ injuries) in London between 1901 and 2010, shown in the two charts below.

Some clear overall patterns emerge. First, each world war resulted in a large fall below trend in both fatalities and total casualties. Taking the effect of the wars into account, the basic trend in terms of fatalities seems to be an increase to a peak of around 1,400 a year in the early 1930s, followed by a long decline that continues to this day, with the 2010 figure of 126 deaths the lowest in the entire record. Total casualties peaked much later, in the early 1960s at 70-80,000 a year, and have fallen proportionately less to around 30,000 a year.

The chart below, derived from the two above, confirms that fatalities have fallen as a share of total casualties over time, though again with notable breaks from trend at the time of the two world wars. The overall downwards trend is presumably due to improvements in emergency care and overall health over time, with the ‘blips’ during the wars probably due to a combination of factors such as blackouts and a shortage of medical care.

You can download the data for these charts in csv format here. In a future post we’ll look at the long-run trend in cyclist casualties.

Filed under: Data, Historic, London, Safety, TfL

Casualties from collisions with goods vehicles, by mode

The 2010 London Freight Data Report (pdf), prepared for TfL by a team from the University of Westminster, has a wealth of information about goods vehicle traffic in London, some of it already already analysed over at Cycle of Futility.

The chart below is based on table 4.4 from the report, and shows the number of fatal and serious casualties resulting from collisions in which goods vehicles were involved in London, by mode of travel, for 1994-98 (averaged) and for 2008, the latest year available.

The (relatively) good news is that the number of car/taxi occupants, pedestrians, goods vehicles occupants and bus/coach occupants killed or seriously injured in collisions with goods vehicles has fallen sharply between 1994-98 and 2008. The bad news is that the trend for motorcyclists is almost and the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured (KSI) in collisions with goods vehicles has actually risen over the period, so that cyclists now account for 19% of goods vehicle-related KSIs, up from 8% in the mid 1990s.

Filed under: DfT, Historic, London, Report, Safety

Cyclist casualties in the City of London

We previously posted about the London-wide trend in cyclist casualties by severity. In this post we look at the trend in the City of London, the ‘Square Mile’ that constitutes London’s financial centre and most built-up area. The first chart below (get the data in csv format here) shows total cyclist casualties in the City split into those who were killed or seriously injured and those who were slightly injured, while the second chart shows just the killed or seriously injured. Note that we only have a total casualties figure for 2010, so the second chart only goes up to 2009.

There has clearly been a large increase in cycling casualties in the City over the last couple of decades, in contrast to the London-wide trend which is broadly steady over the same period. There are certainly more cyclists entering the City in recent years, but as this analysis suggests there is little evidence that the rate of casualties per trip is falling.

Finally (and this goes for any discussion of transport casualties on this blog), the recent death of a cyclist in Clapham reminds us that although we generally try to keep the tone fairly dry and dispassionate here, nobody should forget that every death on the roads is a tragedy and any collision can be highly traumatic, and not just for the victim.

Filed under: Boroughs, Cycling, Data, Historic, Safety, TfL

Pedestrian Countdown Trial: Unpublished Appendices

The Pedestrian Countdown trial was conducted in 2010 for Transport for London by consultancy Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).

The “blackout” phase used at pedestrian junctions where neither the green nor red man is showing was replaced by a “countdown” phase, where a timer counts down the seconds that pedestrians have to finish crossing the road.

A number of other changes were also made to signal timings, for both road traffic and pedestrians. The following is a summary:

Pedestrian phases

Increase

Decrease

Green man

X

Blackout/countdown

X

Pedestrian red

X

Total pedestrian time

X

Road traffic phases
Green

X

Red

X

– “Pedestrian red” is the grace period at the end of the pedestrian phase where the red man appears but road traffic signals are still red.

– “Blackout” is the period for pedestrians after the green man where there is no green or red man showing, and is the phase wholly replaced with Countdown.

Changes in time

We have composed the following graphs with data from the TRL Technical Appendices (see below), which show average changes to both pedestrians and road traffic timings across all sites:

Changes to pedestrian time

Changes to road traffic time

N.B. “After” in the pedestrian phase is the “After 1” trial, immediately after PcATS is installed. The appendices do not contain the figures for the tweaked “After 2” trial, three months later, though we are told the green time is the same. We can infer from the decreased green and increased red time that road traffic faces in the After 2 trial (compared to After 1) that either blackout/countdown or pedestrian red time (or both) is slightly increased.

Documents

Transport for London published a summary report following the trial:

Pedestrian Countdown Project Report

It contains several unpublished appendices which we have obtained through Freedom of Information request and publish here for your perusal.

PCaTS Technical Appendices

Appendix A – Site Maps

Appendix B – Questionnaires

Appendix C – Additional Video  and Observation Data

Appendix D – Glossary of Terms

Filed under: 2010, Report, Safety, TfL, Traffic

Trend in London cyclist casualties by severity

Transport for London’s factsheets and reports on collisions and casualties in London can be found here. General reports covering all modes are published annually (first as factsheets then in more detailed reports), while topic-specific factsheets, for example on pedestrians or cyclists only, are less frequent.

The latest factsheet on cyclist casualties was published in November 2010 and reported on casualties in 2009, with breakdowns by borough, age, gender etc. It also includes a table summarising the trend in cycle casualties in London as a whole since 1986. We have extracted the data from this table and added 2010 data from the most recent all-modes factsheet. The chart below shows the trend, and you can download the resulting table in csv from this link.

London cyclist casualties trend 1986-2010

Filed under: Cycling, Data, Historic, London, Report, Safety, TfL