Don't blame Uber for your city's congestion

A growing body of research shows that ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft increase rather than reduce congestion. These services, however, account for such a small share of urban travel that focusing on them as a source of trouble is probably wrong, if easing congestion is the goal. If they're not the solution, they're not really the problem, either.

Last week, transportation consultant Bruce Schaller released a report pointing out that 70 percent of Uber and Lyft trips occur in nine large US metropolitan areas, where they account for 90 per cent of taxi rides (New York, where traditional taxis are still popular, is the one exception). In these areas, according to Mr Schaller, the transportation network companies (the generic name industry professionals use for the ride-hailing firms) have added 9.2 billion kilometres of driving annually - and added to congestion because 60 per cent of their customers would have used public transportation had these services not been available.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2018, with the headline 'Don't blame Uber for your city's congestion'. Print Edition | Subscribe