What we got wrong about Uber and Lyft

By Shira Ovide, The New York Times, March 29, 2021

“Uber and some transportation experts once predicted that getting a ride with the tap of an app would help reduce traffic and increase riders’ use of public transportation.

“Instead, the opposite happened (paywall).

“Here’s what more research is finding: In the past few years, on-demand ride services have been a major factor in increased traffic (open access) in U.S. cities, particularly in the downtowns of big cities. And most research is showing that the ride services have also been a significant reason for declining ridership of public transportation (open access), especially buses.

“[Gregory D. Erhardt, who analyzes transportation modeling systems at the University of Kentucky], and I talked over three lessons from this misjudgment. First, Uber and Lyft need to share their data so that cities can understand the services’ impact on the roads. Second, public officials need to steer transportation policy to encourage helpful behaviors and limit destructive ones. And third, new technology needs guardrails in place — and maybe those need to be established before its impact is obvious.

“[T]he effects of the ride services suggest that emerging transportation, including driverless cars, may need regulations early on to ensure that promises of a collective benefit don’t turn out to be a mirage.”

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

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