Visualization of the Week: Mapping traffic casualties

A BBC visualization maps every traffic casualty in the UK between 1999-2010.

The web-like patterns of British auto travel in the visualization below are quite beautiful — that is, until you discover it’s a map of traffic casualties. The visualization depicts the locations of more than two million road crashes in the UK between 1999 and 2010. Each light point on the map represents a collision that resulted in a casualty; the brighter the light, the more frequently collisions occurred in that spot.

	BBC traffic visualization
Screenshot from the BBC’s traffic accident visualization. See the full version.

The original map was created by the BBC and can be viewed here. Accompanying the map is a video animation of the crash data, along with more detailed information about particular areas. Visitors to the site can enter their address information to see local crash data, broken down by time and by vehicle type.

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  • AP

    I don’t think this data is believable. They talk about 2.3M fatal accidents in 10 years. That makes for at least 230K deaths per year on average. The total worldwide (bbc source, just a different article) is 1.3M per year. That would imply that the UK accounts for 20% of traffic related accidents each year. Italy the last time I checked was at 40K per year and the US 100K per year, on top of my mind.

  • @AP: I think the BBC is using the broader definition of “casualty” (i.e. killed *or* injured — not just killed). Here’s how the data is described on the BBC page:

    “The image … shows the location of 2,396,750 road crashes in Great Britain from 1999 to 2010. Each light point is an individual collision which resulted in a casualty. The intensity of brightness shows where collisions are more frequent.”