Wednesday, October 10, 2007

If you change nothing, expect more of the same!

In yet another incident, a Blueline bus crushes a motorcyclist to death in Noida.

The High Court calls the death of seven person in an earlier incident as shocking. The police have impounded 100 buses and a former Union Minister drives a Blueline bus to the Chief Ministers home!

Everyone is clearly agitated and surprised that nothing seems to work.

Now consider this:

A large number of Blueline buses ply whole day in Delhi, they take small risks all the time (because it pays), and the chance of a mishap is small (in any individual incident of risky behaviour). But on an average we have an accident every two days.

The situation may be modelled using the Poisson Distribution. Without going into the mathematics of it, we can expect:

  1. A few accident-free days. 

    It won't be the result of the so-called crackdown, but rather due to Poisson Noise.
  2. A spate of accidents. 

    For the same reason as above, not because things may go completely out of hand. (Mathematically, the situation seems to be stable for last three years!)

The accidents would reduce when the distribution characteristic change: either reduce the number of these buses or adjust the incentives that cause the behaviour.

But that seems to be difficult to do.


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