New study suggests Uber and Lyft could increase car ownership

By David Grossman, Inverse, January 7, 2021

“According to a new study (open access) published in the journal iScience, introducing ride-sharing companies into an urban area can actually increase car ownership. Looking at vehicle registrations per capita, the team behind the study found a 0.7 percent increase on average.

“The researchers didn’t realize how Uber and Lyft could affect different cities in radically different ways. ‘Specifically, that vehicle ownership increases more in car-dependent and slow-growth cities than in other types of cities and that transit ridership is displaced more in high-income cities with high rates of childless households than in other kinds of cities,’ study co-author Jeremy Michalek said.

“Previous studies have suggested the opposite of Michalek and his co-authors findings… One such study from 2017 looked at the specific dynamics of Austin. ‘Our analysis is based on observed data across several hundred cities,’ Michalek tells Inverse, 224 to be precise.

Elizabeth Irvin, Senior Transportation Analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists who was not involved in the study, tells Inverse that the findings ‘show how much of an impact it has to design places where it’s easy to get around without a car,’ regardless if it is for a personal or professional drive.

“The study comes with one big disclaimer—all of its data was taken before the Covid-19 pandemic, which has radically changed the economy.”

Read the full article here. (~3 min.)

Graphical abstract of the study discussed in the article.
This graphical abstract depicts the new ridesharing study’s findings. Credit: Jeremy Michalek

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