|1 km in...||is equal to...|
|Look up kilometre or kilometer in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
The kilometre (American spelling: kilometer; SI symbol: km) is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one thousand metres (kilo- being the SI prefix for 1000). It is now the measurement unit used officially for expressing distances between geographical places on land in most of the world; notable exceptions are the United States and the United Kingdom where the statute mile is the official unit used.
k (pronounced kay) is occasionally used in some English-speaking countries as an alternative for the word kilometre in everyday writing and speech. A slang term for the kilometre in the U.S. military is klick.
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (October 2011)|
There are two common pronunciations for the word:
The former pronunciation follows the general pattern in English whereby SI units of measurement are pronounced with the stress on the first syllable, and the pronunciation of the actual base unit does not change irresepective of the prefix. It is generally preferred by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
Many scientists and other users, particularly in countries where the Metric System (SI) is not widely used, use the pronunciation with stress on the second syllable. The latter pronunciation follows the stress pattern used for the names of measuring instruments (such as micrometer, barometer, thermometer, tachometer and speedometer). The problem with this reasoning, however, is that the word meter in those usages refers to a measuring device, not a unit of length. The contrast is even more obvious in countries using the English rather than American spelling of the word metre.
When Australia introduced the metric system in 1975, the first pronunciation was declared official by the government's Metric Conversion Board. However, the Australian Prime Minister at the time, Gough Whitlam, insisted that the second pronunciation was the correct one because of the Greek origins of the two parts of the word.
Equivalence to other units of length 
Units are given to three significant figures:
|Comparison to other units of length|
|One (1) km ≡||1.00×103 (1,000) m|
|1.00×105 (100,000) cm|
|One (1) km ≈||3.24×10−14 parsecs|
|6.68×10−9 astronomical units|
|6.21×10−1 (0.621) miles|
|5.40×10−1 (0.540) nautical miles|
|1.09×103 (1,094) yards|
|3.28×103 (3,281) feet|
|1.61 km≈||One (1) mile|
The kilometre may be visualised in terms of prominent landmarks.
Niagara Falls (1039 m) 
The distance between the American extremity of the Niagara Falls and the Canadian extremity is 1,039 m, or slightly more than a kilometre. Although the length of the rim of the Canadian extremity (Horseshoe Falls) is quoted as being 790 m and the rim of the American extremity American Falls as being 320 m which add up to more than 1,110 m, the rim of the Horseshoe falls is far from straight, so the direct distance between the end-points is 304 m.
NE extremity of American Falls (Prospect Point)
The Mall, London (987 m) 
The Mall, which leads up to Buckingham Palace, is one of London’s main tourist attractions. Immediately in front of the palace is the Victoria Memorial, erected in memory of Queen Victoria (foreground of the picture to the right). At the opposite end is the Admiralty Arch which links The Mall to Trafalgar Square. The distance from the entrance to the Admiralty Arch to the centre of the Victoria Memorial is 987 m.
Centre of the Victoria Memorial
Kowloon – Hong Kong Crossing (1007 m) 
The Victoria Harbour separates two major areas of Hong Kong – Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Until 1970 the only way to cross the harbour was the Star Ferry, which had terminals on both sides. The distance that the ferry travels, as measured from passenger entrance to passenger entrance is 1007 m.
Hong Kong (Central Star Ferry Pier)
Central Park, Manhattan, New York City 
Central Park in New York City is 849 metres wide. It extends (roughly east and west) from Fifth Avenue to Eighth Avenue (also known as Central Park West). The distance between Eighth Avenue and Madison Avenue (one block east of Fifth Avenue) is 1011 metres. The width of the park is visible from many nearby skyscrapers and is walked daily by many people.
Suspension bridges 
A number of suspension bridges have a central span of a kilometre or more. The George Washington Bridge in New York (central span 1067 m) was the first bridge in the world to have a span of more than a kilometre and between 1931 and 1937, had the longest span of any bridge in the world. Other bridges that have a central span of about one kilometre include:
International usage 
The United Kingdom and the United States are the only two developed countries which continue to use miles on road signs.
United Kingdom 
In the United Kingdom, road signs show distances in miles and location marker posts that are used for reference purposes by road engineers and emergency services show distance references in unspecified units which are kilometre-based. The advent of the mobile phone has been instrumental in the British Department for Transport authorising the use of driver location signs to convey the distance reference information of location marker posts to road users should they need to contact the emergency services.
United States 
In the US, the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 prohibits the use of federal-aid highway funds to convert existing signs or purchase new signs with metric units. The Executive Director of the US Federal Highway Administration, Jeffrey Paniati, wrote in a 2008 memo: "Section 205(c)(2) of the National Highway System (NHS) Designation Act of 1995 prohibited us from requiring any State DOT [Department of Transport] to use the metric system during project development activities. Although the State DOT's had the option of using metric measurements or dual units (metrics/inch-pounds), all of them abandoned metric measurements and reverted to sole use of inch-pound values." The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices since 2000 is published in both metric and American Customary Units. (See also Metrication in the United States.)
Covering one kilometre 
The time taken to cover a kilometre is dependent on one's speed. Walking on flat ground, a hiker can expect to cover one kilometre in 12 minutes while a car travelling at a speed of 120 kilometres per hour (75 mph)—the speed limit on numerous European expressways—will cover a kilometre in 30 seconds.
Some sporting disciplines feature 1000 m (one kilometre) races in major events (such as the Olympic Games), but in other disciplines, even though world records are catalogued, the one kilometre event remains a minority event. The world records for various sporting disciplines are:
|Running (M)||Noah Ngeny||2:11.96||Rieti, Italy||5 September 1999||Not an Olympic event|
|Running (F)||Svetlana Masterkova||2:28.98||Brussels||23 August 1996||Not an Olympic event|
|Speed Skating (M)||Shani Davis||1:06.42||Salt Lake City||7 March 2009|
|Speed Skating (F)||Cindy Klaasen||1:13.11||Calgary||25 March 2006|
|Cycling (M)||Arnaud Tourant||58.875 s||La Paz, Bolivia||10 October 2001||No official 1000m woman's record|
See also 
|Look up kilometre in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Conversion of units, for comparison with other units of length
- Cubic metre
- Orders of magnitude (length)
- Metric prefix
- Square kilometre
Notes and references 
- Walshe, Cathy (18 August 2008). "Triathlon: Hewitt bubbling after top 10 finish". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2008-10-27. "The race was four laps, and I was just counting down the k's to the end"
- Kuschke, Jazz (21 August 2007). "The great north (off) road". Getaway Magazine via iafrica.com. Retrieved 2008-10-27. "yet less than 10 kays down the road"
- "Traveling the Roads to Darwin". Enjoy Darwin. Retrieved 2008-10-27. "Camooweal just over the Queensland border a further 250 k's along the road"
- Rod Powers. "How Far is a "Klick" in the Military?". About.com. Archived from the original on 2010-04-13. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- White, Roland (2008-03-23). "Correct pronunciation on the radio". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-05-07.
- A light-year is equal to 9,460,730,472,580.8 km the distance light travels through vacuum in one year (365.25 days).
- One astronomical unit is currently accepted to be equal to 149,597,870,691 ±30 m.
- Measured on Google Earth – accessed 2010-02-10
- "Appendix G :: Weights and measures". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
- "Statutory Instrument 2002 No. 3113 - The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions". 2002-12-16. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
- The Council of the European Communities (2009-05-27). "Council Directive 80/181/EEC of 20 December 1979 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to Unit of measurement and on the repeal of Directive 71/354/EEC". Retrieved 2010-01-12.
- Hansard. "21 October 2009 : Column 1446W". Retrieved 2009-11-04.
- "50th Anniversary of the Interstate Highway System - Frequently Asked Questions". US Department of Transport. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
- Update on Metric Use Requirements for FHWA Documents US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 2008-11-25.
- "Estimating Distance Travelled". Walkhighlands Scotland. Retrieved 2011-11-09. thus with a speed of 5 kilometres per hour (3 mph)
- "Men's World Records". About.com: Track and Field. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
- "Women's World Records". About.com: Track and Field. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
- "Speed Skating: Complete history list of World Records recognized by ISU". International Skating Union. 1 July 2009. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
- "Track Records". Union Cycliste Internationale. Retrieved 2011-11-09.