Comment 114252

By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted October 13, 2015 at 17:45:13 in reply to Comment 114251

OK, I'll bite.

I think you are looking at the green line in the Hamilton report (the commuting numbers) and not the real numbers or the red numbers in the graph.
In 2011 there were 7 pedestrian road deaths in Ottawa. Their population was about 880,000. So Hamilton is 6/520000 or just over 1.15 per 100000. Ottawa is 7/880000 or just .79 per 100000. You could say that Hamilton’s rate is 1.45 times the size of Ottawa’s rate or even more dramatically that Ottawa’s rate is only 68.6% of that of Hamilton’s or even more dramatically still that Hamilton’s rate is 45% greater than Ottawa’s.
But what does that mean? In real numbers, out of 520,000 people living and walking in Hamilton, 6 died in car accidents. Out of 880,000 people in Ottawa, 7 died in car accidents. These are not large numbers. 138 people out of 13.7 million people die in Ontario as pedestrians in accidents with cars every year. That is 1 out of 100,000. Given all the numbers in real, not percentage terms, Hamilton is just slightly over and Ottawa is just slightly under the provincial average rate per 100000. If Hamilton had one less death and Ottawa had one more death Hamilton would be under the provincial average and Ottawa would be almost at the provincial average and their two numbers would be the same on a per 100000 basis (.96 and .9 respectively.) When you are talking about such small numbers, there is nothing of statistical significance to be gleaned by talking in terms of percentages. The real numbers are just too small. In any given year they will likely vary by too great an amount to draw any meaningful conclusions from them other than that some years are more dangerous than others. In fact, just choosing per hundred thousandths and putting them into one year slots does not help much. On the injury side, it is impossible to gauge the true societal significance of the rate because we do not know the degree to which the pedestrians were injured. Simply saying that any number of people would not be injured doesn’t help us understand the immensity of the problem. We do know historically, looking at accident and death rates since the invention of the automobile, that overall, over time, the danger has been decreasing until it has nearly plateaued and the safety has been increasing until it has nearly plateaued.

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