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Archive for the ‘Public Data Sets’ Category

Global vehicle penetration, sliced three different ways

by Matt Rosenberg October 28th, 2012

Data visualizations derived from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators show that while North America far outpaces other major global regions in vehicles per 1,000 people, that gap compared to the developing world is declining. And perhaps more revealing: several developing global regions have more vehicles per kilometers of roadway than North America. Surface transportation of course is just one sector of the energy economy. Growing global energy demands in coming decades for surface transportation, plus other consumer, commercial and institutional uses, and manufacturing, accent the bracing challenge of developing competitively-priced green energy on a vast scale in order to limit climate change.

The World Bank has posted a wide array of World Development Indicators to Google Public Data Explorer, so that users can easily build their own charts, graphs and visualizations. Picking just three among dozens of data depictions across different World Development Indicators, let’s look at global vehicle penetration, by global region, and measured three different ways. The first is passenger vehicles per 1,000 people (not including two-wheelers). North America has almost 2.5 times more than the next closest competitor, but has been declining in recent years; while on the rise are the Europe/Central Asia region, Latin America/Caribbean, and East Asia/Pacific. This chart will likely look quite different in 2020, and even more so in 2030, as the gap between North America and the rest of the world continues to narrow.

Adding in buses and freight vehicles, this next graph looks at motor vehicles per 1,000 people. The gap between North America and other continents is even wider.

However, the measurement of motor vehicles (no two-wheelers) per kilometer of built roads is quite different. Though the data set has a few gaps, it is fairly striking that in the one year so far in which data exists for the Middle East and North Africa (2008), it leads the pack. By this metric, North America ranks third among the major global regions used in the World Development Indicators, behind Middle East/North Africa, and Europe/Central Asia. Data for Latin America/Caribbean is limited to only 2004, so can’t really be factored in. East Asia and Pacific is sharply rising. Europe/Central Asia and South Asia are also rising, North America is declining.

As more road infrastructure is built in developing nations, motor vehicles per kilometer of roadway will likely continue to grow in the developing world. This in turn has a strong probability of increasing greenhouse gas emissions from the surface transportation sector, unless net-green alternative fuels can be produced and sold on a wide scale. North America of course, with its huge number of vehicles overall, faces a related environmental challenge.

Against a backdrop of strong global concern about climate change, the data suggest we can expect even more effort will be focused on developing affordable green vehicles powered by electricity or biofuels; and that scrutiny will intensify of how electricity is produced for transportation and other purposes. In the developing world especially, will coal continue to dominate, or will cleaner, greener alternative energy sources actually gain a substantial foothold?

RELATED: “Global Energy Use and Carbon Emissions, 2005-2035,” Public Data Ferret.


Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

World Bank data visualization: lower fertility, longer lives

by Matt Rosenberg October 19th, 2012

At Google Public Data Explorer, the World Bank recently posted this revealing visualization showing how lower fertility rates correlate with longer life expectancies for females and males. The results are given for major nations and are also colored-coded by continent. A slider on the bottom allows the user to see different result for each year between 1960 and 2010. By hovering your mouse over any circle, you will be able to a nation’s name as well as its exact data points along each axis, in the selected year. By moving the slider rapidly from left to right, you can see the progress over time, on a global scale, in lower fertility rates and greater longevity. Fertility rate is defined as the average number of births per woman, and life expectancy as that of a newborn, with current mortality conditions remaining the same. The source document was the World Bank’s World Development Indicators.

Click “explore data” in the viz below to find an index of other data sets from the report, which you can use to easily create your own data visualizations in Google Public Data Explorer.

Public Data Ferret’s Data Visualization archives: Global; U.S. Government; Washington State; King County; Seattle.


Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

Data viz: oil imports, per-capita GDP for 25 nations, 1980 on

by Matt Rosenberg October 12th, 2012

Earlier this week we used Google Public Data Explorer to craft a data visualization of debt as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product for 16 nations, over a multi-year period. It was from a dataset in the International Monetary Fund’s October 2012 World Economic Outlook. The IMF has posted a host of different data sets from that new report at the Google data site, which is designed to let people build their own data visualizations and easily embed them in their Web sites or blogs. Here’s one more we’ve developed from the IMF report, showing oil imports for 25 selected nations, the value pegged to that of the U.S. dollar at the time. The period covered is 1980 through 2011, with projections to 2017. Of the 25 nations, the U.S. is far and away the leader for 2011, with more than $462 billion in oil imports. Use the “explore data” link to access the IMF report’s page at Google Public Data Explorer, and create your own viz. You’ll also see a direct link to the source document, at the lower left corner of our viz.

Here’s another viz using the same tool and source document. It depicts per-capita GDP, expressed in U.S. dollars, for the same 25 countries. Norway, that’s the place to be.


Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

Data visualization: gross debt as portion of GDP, 16 nations

by Matt Rosenberg October 10th, 2012

From the International Monetary Fund’s October 2012 World Economic Outlook database comes this data visualization we easily built at the Google Public Data Explorer site, depicting the gross debt of selected nations as a percentage of their gross domestic product, or annual economic output. The period covered is 1997 into 2010 or 2011, with projections to 2015. Click on “explore data” to create other visualizations from the same new IMF database, choosing different econometrics and nations. (UPDATE: Here are two more we’ve done – on oil imports and per-capita GDP for 25 nations – baked into one post).

Public Data Ferret’s Data Visualization archive


Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

King County’s big tort claims: $37.3M in last 2.5 years

by Matt Rosenberg August 29th, 2012

Court verdicts or settlements of $100,000 or more in government negligence claims against King County from January 2010 through June 2012 have totaled $37.3 million and 40 percent of that has resulted from actions by transit employees at King County Metro, according to records obtained by Public Data Ferret. The large tort claim payouts by King County more than doubled from 2010 to 2011 but so far are occurring at a slower pace this year. In 2010, total large tort claims (over $100,000) were $10.3 million and $6.65 million or 64 percent were due to King County Metro transit operations. In 2011, large tort claims were $23.1 million and $6.32 million or 27 percent were tied to Metro transit. In 2012 through June, King County has paid out $3.85 million in negligence claims of $100,000 or more, with $1.92 million or 50 percent involving Metro transit.

Data viz: King County city crime rates, 1985-2011

by Nathan Brown August 16th, 2012

The highest per capita crime rates among King County cities in 2011 were in Tukwila, SeaTac, Seattle, Auburn, Burien, Federal Way, and Kent. The lowest were in Duvall, Sammamish, Yarrow Point, Clyde Hill, Medina, Snoqualmie, and Black Diamond. That and much more is shown in the following original data visualization for Public Data Ferret, which displays total crime rate data for King County cities during the years 1985 through 2011. It was developed using a tool made by the software firm, Tableau, based in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.

Population is represented by the size of the bubble for each city. As depicted in the color legend below the map, localities with total crime rates below the average for all cities in King County in the given year are shaded in green; the darker the shade, the lower the rate. Similarly, localities with rates higher than the average for all cities in King County in the given year are shaded in red; the darker the shade, the higher the rate. Hover the cursor over any bubble to view additional information about that locality, including violent crime rate and property crime rate. Crime rates are expressed as incidences per thousand residents. The maps display data as reported by each city’s police department within King County by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. “Empty” or absent cells reflect missing source data. More instructions in user guide.

RELATED: Public Data Ferret’s Data Visualization archive


Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the Seattle-based 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

WA state site has new interactive data sets on population

by Matt Rosenberg July 6th, 2012

Population data for Washington cities and counties from 2010 to April 1, 2012 released in late June by the state’s Office of Financial Management is now available as a series of interactive datasets at Washington State’s official open data site, data.wa.gov. We’ve embedded the interactive datasets immediately below. To begin exploring the data, slide the horizontal scroll bar to the right. Pick a data column to re-arrange in ascending or descending order, such as “Percentage change in population, 2010-2012.” Further instructions including visual aids are below the embed.

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WA vehicle collisions and fatalities drop notably, ‘02 to ‘10

by Henry Apfel July 1st, 2012

Data from the Washington State Department of Transportation show that over the past decade there’s been a significant downwards trend in The Evergreen State’s total vehicle collisions and fatalities, even with an uptick in vehicle miles travelled. Additionally, the number of accidents per 100 million miles travelled has dropped sharply, as has the death rate. From 2002 to 2010, vehicle miles traveled increased by four percent – less than a fifth of a percent higher than nationally over the same time – while the number of collisions dropped 10.5 percent. Collisions per 100 million miles traveled declined 19.3 percent. There were 43.4 percent fewer driver fatalities in Washington state in 2010 compared to 2002, and given the increase in miles traveled, driver fatalities per 100 million miles in Washington state decreased 53.5 percent from 2002 to 2010. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data show that his contrasts with a drop in the comparable U.S.-wide rate over the same stretch of 26.5 percent.

We’ve created an original visualization of the data below using the free Tableau Public tool from Seattle-based Tableau Software. We also get an analysis of the data trends from a University of Washington transportation expert.

Data visualization instructions: a) Start with the “Collision and Fatality Trends” tab view, to see color-coded data key. b) Run your mouse along lines to see individual points of data. c) You may also select different tabs for other representations of the information.

(Note: The original data included a category called “Miscellaneous Roadways” that was omitted for the purposes of this article. Consequently, total values are slightly different from the original data. Source: Washington State Department of Transportation Table TT03 on Road Usage and Safety, found in The State of Washington 2011 Databook, January 2012, Office of Financial Management)

A range of factors likely explain the decline in vehicle fatalities and accidents in Washington State, although their relative importance is difficult to determine, said Professor Mark Hallenbeck, Director of the Washington State Transportation Center at the University of Washington. One “has been a big push by USDOT (and consequently the state DOTs) to reduce the number of road fatalities,” he said. Hallenback also cited growing safety improvements to vehicles, “click-it or ticket” programs which enforce the use of seatbelts, and graduated driver licensing laws that allow young drivers to gain experience in a safe environment prior to being fully licensed. He added that many roads have had safety improvements, such as the addition of median barriers where there were none previously.

Public Data Ferret’s Data Visualization+Washington State archive

Other factors figure in, as well. Use of digital devices while driving is a known risk factor but hard to quantify. One study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute suggested that dialing a hand-held wireless device increased the risk of a crash or near-crash by almost three times.

Related: Q&A with Professor Mark Hallenbeck, Director, Washington State Transportation Center, University of Washington


Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the Seattle-based 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.