In (perhaps) unsurprising news: a new study shows that ride-sharing apps are making traffic in major cities worse.
Ubers and Lyfts are a common sight in Washington, D.C. Whether you love them or hate them, they are changing the way many Americans get around. A new study found that ride-sharing apps are making large U.S. cities more congested with traffic and may be deterring people away from public transportation.
As a District resident, I have mixed feelings about ride-sharing apps. I have a car, so the vast majority of the time I am driving myself. However, there have been a few times where ride-sharing apps have helped me get to places around D.C. where it would be a nightmare to park and public transportation is minimal. However, countless times I have been driving in D.C. and become frustrated when an Uber or Lyft throws on their hazards and stops in the middle of the lane instead of moving into one of the many available parking spots.
The new study, by urban transportation consulting company Schaller Consulting, looks at both the positive and negative effects of ride-sharing apps on the future of American cities.
The study found that ride-sharing apps are used primarily in large, urban areas. In fact, 70 percent of Uber and Lyft trips are in nine metropolitan cities, including Boston, Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C.
Courtesy of American Society of Civil Engineers
These ride-sharing apps have added 5.7 billion miles of driving in these nine cities. While some will argue that these people would have been driving anyway, the study found 60 percent of ride-sharing app users said they wouldn't have driven if the apps weren't available. Instead, they said they would use public transportation, bicycles, or walking.
Washington, D.C., recently addressed the rise in ride-sharing apps over public transportation by introducing a tax on Uber and Lyft rides, which would go towards funding the Metro.
The study does point out some potential positives for having ride-sharing apps in big cities. Many people use ride-sharing apps to avoid drunk driving which can help save lives, especially if people are out drinking past the point that public transportation stops running each night.
The study says, "TNCs [transportation network companies] can help people use a combination of public transportation and TNCs rather than renting a car when traveling out of town. They also provide valuable access to transit service, as when people take a TNC to a major rail station. People can also combine TNCs, transit, walking and bike share for different portions of a day’s itinerary, as they are not tethered to where their car is parked."
What do you think? Do you like ride-sharing apps? Think they clog up the roads? Let us know in the comments below!