City streets are a scarce resource, and they can get very congested. During peak times, we want to move as many people through these corridors as efficiently as possible. On this, I think we all agree.
But some people want to lay the blame for urban traffic congestion on the growing popularity of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, and a recent report by transportation consultant Bruce Schaller gives support to this idea: Schaller’s analysis shows that, over the past six years, ride-sharing services have added 5.7 billion vehicle miles traveled and increased trips by 241 percent in nine major U.S. cities.
That sounds like a lot! But Schaller’s framing sets us up for failure. Cities have been congested and transit has been poorly used for years before these companies set up shop.
According to the 2018 Federal Highway Administration travel survey, in urban areas that also have rail (that is, probably including the nine major cities referenced) taxis plus ride-hailing plus carsharing account for just 1.7 percent of miles travelled by urban dwellers, while travel by personal cars account for 86 percent.
Many riders—60 percent, Schaller notes—are using ride-hailing services instead of more sustainable modes of transport, like public transit, walking, or bicycling. Ridership of these transportation network companies (or TNCs) is soon expected to pass local bus ridership.
But when we look at the whole, we see that people choose to ride by bus for 4 percent of their trips, and by personal car for 73 percent. Why wouldn’t we presume that the same fraction of trips taken in a personal car could also have been accomplished by foot, bike, or transit? Good question! But neither the federal travel survey, nor New York’s own mobility survey thought to ask.
Click here to read the full article: https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/07/dont-blame-ride-hailing-for-traffic-congestion/566222/