Why Are so Many Taxi Cabs Yellow?

In the United States, yellow cabs are a common form of public transportation; yellow cabs are the easiest to spot since they are the only ones that are yellow. But, why are they yellow? The answer is simple: it is to make them easy to spot. When taxis are in service, there are only two models of taxis, the yellow taxis and the other regular-colored taxis. Because yellow taxis are easier to see, they are encouraged to move around more often than the regular-colored taxis.

We’ve all been in a taxi cab at some point in our lives, and it’s likely you’ve had the same experience. You get in the taxicab and are sitting snugly, enjoying the soft ride as you pull away from your destination. Suddenly, you see an unmistakable bright yellow taxi pull into view.

With the growing popularity of Uber and Lyft in recent years, the idea of taking a taxi has become almost obsolete. However, taxis are still widely used in major cities around the world because some people who need a ride quickly can get a taxi more easily than a carpool. Finally, most taxis are easy to spot because their yellow color is much more visible than a silver Toyota Corolla. But have you ever wondered why many taxis are yellow?

Visibility has something to do with the fact that taxis are yellow

You may have noticed that many taxis around the world are painted in different colors. Some are black, blue, white or even green. But why are most of them yellow? You might think it’s mostly because one company – Yellow Cab – makes them that way, but there’s an important reason why many taxis are the color of the sun.

According to Science Insider, which produced the video, the researchers tracked more than 16,000 different taxis over a three-month period. They found that yellow taxis were 5% less likely to be hit from behind during the day and 19% less likely at night. That’s not the only reason taxis are yellow. Let’s look back and see how the yellow taxi came about.

History of the yellow taxi

Taxis drive by during the opening of the Margaritaville Resort Times Square in New York. | Photographer: Amir Hamjah/Bloomberg

In 1908 Albert Rockwell, inventor and manufacturer, started a taxi company and painted all his cars yellow, and not because that color is more visible. According to Alexandria Yellow Cab, Rockwell painted his taxis yellow because it was his wife’s favorite color. It turns out that this fleet of yellow cars was more visible on the streets of New York. This also led Rockwell to name his company the Yellow Taxi Cab Company in 1915.

Around the same time, in 1915, a car salesman named John Hertz started his own taxi company in Chicago based on a surplus of cars sold. To highlight its fleet, Hertz relied on a scientific study by the University of Chicago.

The study showed that the yellow color with a red tint is more perceptible to the human eye at a distance. When Hertz found out, he painted all his taxis yellow and created Hertz’s Chicago Yellow Cab Company. Later, in 1953, he founded the better known Hertz Corporation and used the same yellow color for the logo.

Eventually, many New York taxi companies began painting their cars yellow, which led to an official decree in 1967 that all taxis in New York City had to be the same color yellow. To be precise, the Dupont M6284 or equivalent, reports The UI Junkie.

Green is actually more visible than yellow

While a study has shown that painting taxis yellow improves visibility, it is interesting to note that it is not the most visible color. As the Aiken Standard reports, new research has shown that green is the most visible color to the human eye, but only in daylight.

At night, the greenery can blend in with the green surroundings (such as trees) and other vehicles. So it’s not the best color for taxis. Instead, the color yellow still dominates. So the next time you use Uber or Lyft and the car you get into turns out to be yellow, you can tell the driver this new information about their old school competitor.

APPROPRIATE: This is the New York cab of tomorrow: Nissan NV200

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are American taxis yellow?

The color yellow is associated with taxis because it was the color of taxi signs in New York City.

Why are NYC cabs yellow?

The color yellow is associated with the sun, which is a symbol of life and energy.

What’s the difference between yellow and green taxis?

Yellow taxis are usually larger and have a yellow roof. Green taxis are smaller and have a green roof.

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