Chart of the Day: Per Capita Auto Fatalities vs. Per Capita Vehicle Miles Traveled

This is a great chart from the New York Times that puts a dizzying spin on the usual vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and fatality graphs by plotting them against each other. Auto fatalities per capita is on the Y-axis, and VMT per capita is on the X (moving to the right = larger):

vmt v fatalities per capita

(Note: 1979 = the retrograde motion of Mars.)

The Times draws a few conclusions:

Plotting the two most important variables against each other — miles traveled versus deaths per 100,000 population — yields a pattern that looks like a plateau followed by a steep drop. It evokes the theory of punctuated equilibrium, proposed by the paleontologists Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge, which suggests that instead of continuous gradual evolution, change occurs abruptly after periods of virtual standstill.

Cool new way of looking at old data.


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