Study: When Ride-Hailing Companies Enter the Market, Traffic Fatalities Increase
A new working paper by researchers at the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business finds evidence that the dawn of transportation network companies coincides with increases in vehicle registrations and traffic fatalities—outcomes far from the utopian ideal predicted by proponents of TNCs when they first hit the streets.
Luigi Zingaled shares the findings of the new Stigler working paper by John Barrios (University of Chicago), Yael Hochberg and Livia Yi (Rice University):
Not only does the introduction of ride-sharing seem to not reduce congestion, it actually increases the number of car registrations by 3 percent. Most importantly, Barrios et al. find that the introduction of ride-sharing increases the number of fatal accidents by 3 percent (in the aggregate, this is equivalent to 987 extra lives lost every year in the United States alone).
The researchers built these finds on evidence found in data on traffic fatalities from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Exploiting the staggered entry of ride-sharing into different cities, the authors were able to measure the changes in accident trends in the eight quarters that preceded and followed the introduction of ride-sharing. As the figure [in the article shows, there is a rise in fatal accidents following the entry of ride-sharing into a city (time zero)….
The article concludes by suggesting the policy mechanism that will most effectively address the externalities generated by TNCs (hint: it's not a ban or cap on the number ride-hailing drivers).
The new paper is the latest of a string of new data and research to emerge on the impacts of transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. The news has mostly been bad, with perhaps one exception. Seattle and the Bay Area have quantified how much traffic ride-hailing adds to transportation system, and multiple studies suggest ride-hailing poaches rides from public transit.