Stunning data visualization highlights the casualty toll on Britain's roads over the past decade

Searchable and zoomable interactive map shows incidents by severity, class of user and age of victim

by Simon_MacMichael   November 19, 2011  

Road casualty visualization - Central London - source- ITO World

In one of the most compelling applications of data visualization we’ve yet seen, a data mapping firm has used police data to produce a map of road traffic casualties in Great Britain between 2000 and 2010, broken down by class of user, age and severity of incident. The interactive map is embedded at the bottom of this article. If you want to see what has been happening on the road you travel on over the past 10 years this is the place to look.

The map was compiled using 10 year's worth of the Department for Transports STATS19 - the annual reported road casualty statistics for Great Britain, these record everthing from reported minor injuries through to deaths on the roads and although not every minor injury will make it in to the statistics any incident involving injury that was reported to the police will be there.

The effect is stunning – not only because it shows in a clear, graphic form data that can often be hidden away in official statistical spreadsheets, but also because it highlights the sheer scale of carnage on Britain’s roads in the first decade of this century.

During that period, 32,995 people have been killed in road traffic incidents, a shade under the average attendance at FA Premier League football matches this season; almost 3 million people have been injured, equivalent to one in 20 of the population.

The searchable and zoomable interactive map has been produced by transport data mapping specialists ITO World and is based on police dataset Stats19, which is published by the Economic and Social Data Service.

Like us, the first thing you’ll probably want to do is zoom in on where you live or work and see how the recorded casualties compare to your own recall of incidents in the area; we did find that a couple of incidents we know took place in Bath don’t appear on the map, although whether that’s due to an omission in the dataset or a glitch in the software is impossible to say.

Some common themes do emerge, wherever you live. Town and city centres, where traffic tends to move more slowly and there are increased numbers of people walking or on bikes, see a concentration of fatalities among pedestrians and cyclists; in the capital, shown in the picture above, green squares – used to denote a cyclist who has lost their life – dominate in the Square Mile of the City of London itself and the area immediately surrounding it, while in the West End, fatalities are most likely to be pedestrians.

There are of course practical implications for the data, since they can help highlight specific locations or routes where there is a particularly high concentration of casualties, whether killed, seriously injured or slightly injured; it should be borne in mind though that other factors may be involved – a busy road will typically attract a higher number of incidents than a quieter one, unless the latter is particularly hazardous.

The data visualization has been published ahead of tomorrow’s world day of remembrance for road traffic victims. In making it available, ITO have said "The information provided within these maps should not be used to identify the individuals concerned," and we'd ask you to bear that in mind when it comes to making any comments.

32 user comments

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I was going to upload a graphic to show how i thought the roads in my area were pretty safe, but then i looked at the triangles and circle's closer up and saw my couple of scrapes there aswell

Here is the graphic http://img840.imageshack.us/img840/5065/crashpd.jpg

Red round the box are people i knew personally and black is someone who was known to my family, quite shocking really to think thats just in and around 30 odd miles of my small village

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9034 posts]
19th November 2011 - 12:40

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"almost 3 million people have been injured, equivalent to one in five of the population"

That would make the population 15 Million - UK population is about 62 Million, so closer to 1 in 21 of the population.

Interesting map though.

posted by richred_uk [71 posts]
19th November 2011 - 12:56

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cavasta wrote:
33,000 deaths in a 10 year period? We must be insane to tolerate this Worried

Not really, that works out to 3,300 a year or just over 9 a day and only a small bit of googling shows that there are roughly

31,035,791 cars on British roads (2009)
450,000 Lorries (2008)
1.3 million motorbikes

So then thats almost 33 million, thats without taking in cyclist's and every other type of transport you can think of like buses

I also have an issue with the way it says "almost 3 million people have been injured, equivalent to one in five of the population"

Last time i checked the UK population was a shade over 62 million, so how can 3 million be 1 in 5 remembering that this is a national survey and not just one country

My math, 20% of 62 million would be 12.4 million, to get 3 million you have to come down below 5% to be exact it would be 4.83871% of the population

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9034 posts]
19th November 2011 - 13:00

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richred_uk wrote:
"almost 3 million people have been injured, equivalent to one in five of the population"

That would make the population 15 Million - UK population is about 62 Million, so closer to 1 in 21 of the population.

Interesting map though.

Thanks, that's what I meant.. blame the head cold. Bleurgh.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8485 posts]
19th November 2011 - 13:10

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Brilliant representation of something quite horrific.

Love the fact you can embed it in your own site/blog.

Never thought there was much point to reporting various incedents and minor injuries I've received till now!

starchild's picture

posted by starchild [21 posts]
19th November 2011 - 13:54

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Gkam84 wrote:
cavasta wrote:
33,000 deaths in a 10 year period? We must be insane to tolerate this Worried

Not really, that works out to 3,300 a year or just over 9 a day and only a small bit of googling shows that there are roughly

31,035,791 cars on British roads (2009)
450,000 Lorries (2008)
1.3 million motorbikes

So then thats almost 33 million, thats without taking in cyclist's and every other type of transport you can think of like buses

Maybe. But that doesn't make it acceptable. Like I say, we must be insane to tolerate 3,300 deaths per year. Statistically speaking, that figure may be a drop in the ocean but 3,300 deaths is 3,300 deaths, whichever way you look at it. Moreover, each and every one of those deaths will have had a devestating affect on family, work colleagues and friends.

cavasta's picture

posted by cavasta [214 posts]
19th November 2011 - 13:59

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Gkam84 wrote:
cavasta wrote:
33,000 deaths in a 10 year period? We must be insane to tolerate this Worried

Not really, that works out to 3,300 a year or just over 9 a day

Compare it to the railways. In the same period analysed, there were five fatal incidents on the GB rail network with three or more people killed (the most serious being Selby in 2001, ten dead).

Almost without exception, those incidents with multiple fatalities result in an enquiry that receives an awful lot of local and national press coverage and result in recommendations being made and hopefully lessons learned.

We've seen pretty much the equivalent of a Selby every single day on the country's roads over that ten-year period.

Is that acceptable?

Where's the public enquiry?

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [8485 posts]
19th November 2011 - 14:01

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:

Compare it to the railways. In the same period analysed, there were five fatal incidents on the GB rail network with three or more people killed (the most serious being Selby in 2001, ten dead).

Almost without exception, those incidents with multiple fatalities result in an enquiry that receives an awful lot of local and national press coverage and result in recommendations being made and hopefully lessons learned.

We've seen pretty much the equivalent of a Selby every single day on the country's roads over that ten-year period.

Is that acceptable?

Where's the public enquiry?

But thats a bit misleading to compare it to the rail network, when most of it is controlled by computers and systems which most of the time work and change lights and signals, change the position of rails so trains switch between them, I don't know figures to suggest how many trains are in the UK, so can't go on percentages

BUT, how many accidents on the rails were human error vs system error? The fact is, EVERY driver on our roads is different and therefore, unless you can remotely control every vehicle on the nations roads then there will ALWAYS be crashes and fatalities

The thing this site doesn't break down, unless i've missed it is, These deaths, how many were single vehicle, bad weather or something similar where the blame can't be laid on another driver? I think this whole site is misleading everybody by the way its been done

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9034 posts]
19th November 2011 - 14:11

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In the UK in 2009, there were 156,090 deaths from cancer. So over 10 years just as an average using 2009 as an example 1,560,900 would have died from cancer thats 4272 every day over 10 years so on that basis, i have a 475% higher chance of being diagnosed and dying from cancer than getting killed on the UK roads

I think thats a much better example of how dangerous the roads are in comparision to something that has a high mortality rate, not rail deaths which we all know in this country, the rail system, although late, old and prone to break downs in pretty much the safest way to travel

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9034 posts]
19th November 2011 - 14:24

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Gkam, the comparison to the railways was more than anything else a comment on the numbers involved, not what lies behind those incidents.

But plenty of them are due to human... well, not "error," but involvement. The motorist involved in the Selby crash got five years.

Of the two next most serious incidents, seven dead in each, one was due to a driver choosing a level crossing as the site of his suicide.

There are related data on road casualties that would give further insight into road casualties. Perhaps that's something ITO will look at incorporating in the future. Or perhaps it's too difficult right now to introduce that many variables into the equation and produce a visualization that works.

But there are things that can be done to reduce the death toll. 20mph zones in urban areas, enforcement of laws prohibiting mobile phone use while driving, and so on.

Whether those who make and enforce our laws choose to prioritise that is another issue altogether.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8485 posts]
19th November 2011 - 14:34

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Don't get me wrong, i do like that road deaths are being highlighted like this, it may make some people think about their own driving, but until its broken down a bit further it just a way to show some people in pictures what is already available in writing, so its almost "a idiots guide to"

I quite agree something needs to be done about enforcing existing laws around various things including mobile phones and speed limits, BUT again, this is all down to money, look how the police force is being cut left, right and centre, reducing its ability to deal with these issues

As for 20mph zones in urban areas, while in theory this would become a great ideal, its just impossible to enforce in reality.

I'll show you an example local to me just because i know about it, This picture is Aboyne, the next big village down the road to me, all the roads i have marked orange are between 20 and 30 mph, the main road running right through the village "Ballater Road" has a 20mph at certain times of the day, I can't find the document because it seems to have been removed for the local council site, but it shows that more accidents happened in the 20mph time rather than the 30mph

http://img263.imageshack.us/img263/5541/aboyne.jpg

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9034 posts]
19th November 2011 - 14:55

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I suspect one of the reasons enquiries are held after train crashes is because of a train's passanger capacity, and therefore because of the potential number of people that were/are/could have been at risk of injury or death. There's nothing on the road that transports the same number of people as a train. Coaches are the nearest, with a capacity of around 55-60. A coach crash with fatalities is usually reported on the national news; individual incidents of car crashes rarely are - unless the number of deaths is more than one or two. Five separate car crashes, all in different locations, which result in, say, one death at each incident is extremely unlikey to make it onto the national news. A crash involving a coach load of people that results in five deaths almost certainly will make the national news.
It's the same following plane crashes. The potential for high numbers of fatalaties in a plane crash is far greater than in a multi-vehicle pile up.

cavasta's picture

posted by cavasta [214 posts]
19th November 2011 - 15:48

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I'm sorry this is getting ridiculous, you are all just regurgitating various stats and analysing them differently while saying we shouldn't die. Well I'm sorry to be the party pooper here but if there is one constant in the universe it is death. The only and I mean ONLY way to prevent deaths on the road is to not go out. So lets stop firing stats at each other and be realistic, yes it is hard when we loose someone close due to a road accident but there are too many individual factors involved to even begin to protect everyone, the primary one being us humans and our wonderful ability to be stupid. Reducing the speed limit does not reduce the speed of a car. I'm glad they have included all accidents on here as I can just imagine the disgust and ravings if it was only cyclists, you just have to compare cyclists to the poor pedestrian.

posted by russcutts [17 posts]
19th November 2011 - 18:35

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russcutts wrote:
I'm sorry this is getting ridiculous, you are all just regurgitating various stats and analysing them differently while saying we shouldn't die. Well I'm sorry to be the party pooper here but if there is one constant in the universe it is death. The only and I mean ONLY way to prevent deaths on the road is to not go out. So lets stop firing stats at each other and be realistic, yes it is hard when we loose someone close due to a road accident but there are too many individual factors involved to even begin to protect everyone, the primary one being us humans and our wonderful ability to be stupid. Reducing the speed limit does not reduce the speed of a car. I'm glad they have included all accidents on here as I can just imagine the disgust and ravings if it was only cyclists, you just have to compare cyclists to the poor pedestrian.

Not so much a party pooper but some of your comments don't make sense, i'm not wanting to get into an arguement, because i may have got you wrong in this statement

"Reducing the speed limit does not reduce the speed of a car"

So a car travelling at 30mph and a car travelling at 20mph in your eyes are travelling at the same speed?

OR am i totally misreading it and what you mean is, Reducing the speed limit does not reduce the top speed a car is capable of? Thinking

The other bit i'd like to pick up on, I'm both a cyclist and a pedestrian most of the time apart from when i used public transport as i do not own a car, Why should i compare the deaths of cyclists to pedestrians on this site? Surely cyclists use of the road is at least 75% more than pedestrians? Where i am using the road 100% of the time as a cyclist, i only use the road to cross or where there is no pavement when on foot, so inherently i'm going to be more in danger to other vehicles as a cyclist

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9034 posts]
19th November 2011 - 19:12

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I don't really care about the breakdown statistics, but if these numbers of deaths or SI happened in a single day then they would eclipse those on Sept. 11.

I saw a huge political response to that event, why do I hear nothing to this?

posted by 2Loose [28 posts]
19th November 2011 - 19:28

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2Loose wrote:
I don't really care about the breakdown statistics, but if these numbers of deaths or SI happened in a single day then they would eclipse those on Sept. 11.

I saw a huge political response to that event, why do I hear nothing to this?


You've answered your own question. Because it happened on a case by case basis over the course of a decade.

Incidentally, this helps demonstrate why ghost bikes are a bad idea (making a marginal mode of transport look more dangerous than it is) and why ghost cars (extremely popular and more dangerous) would be much better.

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posted by Rob Simmonds [253 posts]
19th November 2011 - 19:49

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As much as i hate the idea of ghost bikes, i think ghost cars would just be taking it a little OTT

Plus ghost bikes are going to become a problem soon if every cyclist that dies has one erected in their memory, up here and i know other places around the country, the local council and police are removing roadside memorials for "safety" reasons and if not instantly removed are being taken away after three months

If ghost bikes keep appearing, rather than the government looking at cyclist's safety they will just ban ghost bikes and memorials on "safety" grounds

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9034 posts]
19th November 2011 - 20:00

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Alarming though the figures are, bear in mind that Italy has roughly the same population as the UK and around twice the fatalities on its roads. Thailand also has a population of around 60 million and has 10 times the fatalities.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2308 posts]
19th November 2011 - 23:29

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_...

I think this says it ALL road deaths per 100,000 people

Marshall Islands
Sweden
San Marino
Malta

The only 4 countries below the UK

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9034 posts]
20th November 2011 - 0:55

1 Like

Zoomed in on our local area then wished I had't...

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1299 posts]
20th November 2011 - 12:34

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I must admit, when I zoomed in on my daily commute route and local area I was pleasantly surprised at how sparse the incidents were - the sad bit being when I zoomed in on the one death on my way to work and found it was an 8 year-old - that killed the mood

Buddha said:

Believe nothing, No matter where you read it,
Or who has said it, Not even if I have said it,
Unless it agrees with your own reason
And your own common sense.

mad_scot_rider's picture

posted by mad_scot_rider [566 posts]
21st November 2011 - 9:15

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Is it every? Can't be surely, I must have misread..? Thinking

I can't find my collision from '08, or the death in the same year, month earlier, of a local cyclist killed by a drug driver. Thinking

downfader's picture

posted by downfader [204 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 22:14

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jimmythecuckoo wrote:
Zoomed in on our local area then wished I had't...

Exactly how I felt. Thought Tyneside wouldn't be too bad but quite a few cycling fatalities. The number of serious injuries to car users in e4ven the most urban of roads in the area is also quite alarming.

posted by paulfg42 [379 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 23:08

1 Like

downfader wrote:
Is it every? Can't be surely, I must have misread..? Thinking

I can't find my collision from '08, or the death in the same year, month earlier, of a local cyclist killed by a drug driver. Thinking

This is what it says on the ITO website:

"There are a very small number of errors in the data resulting in, for example, incorrect locations. We have removed any data with coordinates that are obviously inaccurate; however ITO World provide no guarantee of the accuracy of the data."

Intereestingly, today the Guardian has published ITO's similar map for the USA - I zoomed in on New York City (took a bit of finding, hidden as it is under so many dots), around 1 car occupant a year killed south of Central Park - but lots of cyclists and many, many more pedestrians.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/interactive/2011/nov/22/us-road-...

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8485 posts]
23rd November 2011 - 23:47

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Didn't http://www.crashmap.co.uk/ get there first?

posted by Oranj [15 posts]
24th November 2011 - 7:44

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According to this map,, there are NO fatalities or injuries in Northern Ireland. Well, that's very reassuring, but based on the number of near misses I experience in NI on an almost daily basis, somehow I don't believe it. It does make you wonder about the reliability of this presentation.

Always good on the flat.

posted by Dramaqueen [22 posts]
24th November 2011 - 9:21

1 Like

totally meaningless data as there is nothing with which to normalise it ie: average vehicle per km traffic flow rates per year by vehicle type. You need this crucial data to decide if a particular road is in fact dangerouis for the vehicle you choose to drive/ride.

to use an extreme, if a road has only 10 users per km per year and 2 of them are killed in that year its pretty dangerous. If 2 million users per km are on that road per year and only 2 were killed I say it was pretty safe.

there is no data here to make that comparison so you may as well just bin it.

posted by wyadvd [123 posts]
24th November 2011 - 10:04

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Dramaqueen wrote:
According to this map,, there are NO fatalities or injuries in Northern Ireland. Well, that's very reassuring, but based on the number of near misses I experience in NI on an almost daily basis, somehow I don't believe it. It does make you wonder about the reliability of this presentation.

Well... the data are for Great Britain, not the UK, as we've made clear throughout. So NI isn't included.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8485 posts]
24th November 2011 - 10:16

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@Gkam84 re: list of fatalities

not surprised by some of the stats there. Spain, where I've lived, about twice that of UK, known a few Spanish people involved in serious crashes; South Korea - 4 times - complete lunatics on the roads and the mopeds regularly behave like the worst cyclists here.

But some surprises as well, the Netherlands, often held up as an example here, slightly worse; Belgium and Denmark, around 3 times as many deaths and both worse than Italy.

Of course the stats aren't broken down into cyclists, peds and vehicles but given that the majority of people, even on this cycling site, will do all three on a regular basis we're not doing so badly, even though any fatality is deeply regrettable.

posted by Alan Tullett [1465 posts]
24th November 2011 - 10:23

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Hi
Yes, I realised that the map commentary refers to GB, but then there are a couple of curious stray purple dots posted just North of Dublin.... and people in this thread are relating the map to UK-wide stats, which only makes the whole thing so much harder to make any sense of, from where I'm sitting anyway. And that's in a blissfully dot-free part of the map.

Always good on the flat.

posted by Dramaqueen [22 posts]
24th November 2011 - 11:12

1 Like