The Post-Pandemic Future of Rideshare

With pooled services suspended through the pandemic and research showing most users prefer private rides, will shared rides continue to play a role in urban transportation?

2 minute read

March 24, 2021, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Coronavirus and Transportation

ALINEROSA / Shutterstock

As ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft faced backlash for producing more urban congestion with single-passenger trips, "pooled service seemed to offer a more city-friendly product," and autonomous vehicle producers also designed multi-person pods in preparation for a future of shared-ride transit. But with shared services largely on hold since the start of the pandemic, David Zipper, writing in Bloomberg CityLab, asks whether shared transportation can recover.

Back in February 2018, the nonprofit World Resources Institute unveiled the Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, a set of guidelines that "included a commitment that autonomous vehicles would offer only shared trips within urban areas," according to Zipper. Since then, "a slew of evidence suggests that those who can afford to hail a vehicle would really prefer to have it to themselves," which is "worrisome news for public officials who hoped shared rides could help curb congestion — and for mobility companies who’ve pointed to sharing as a reason their products wouldn’t condemn cities to gridlock." While "sharing trips with strangers is the basic principle behind riding public transportation," sharing rides in private vehicles feels different than larger conveyances like trains or buses. "In a bad situation, you’re more likely to feel trapped in a ride-hail vehicle," making some users more reluctant to use shared rides even outside the public health risks posed by the pandemic. 

Without policies to incentivize shared travel through increased convenience or lower cost, the dream of autonomous shared transit could devolve into a growing number of "individual AV trips grinding urban streets to a halt."

Thursday, March 18, 2021 in Bloomberg CityLab

Aerial view of homes on beach in Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Passes First Legislation Regulating Short-Term Rentals Statewide

The new law will give counties the power to limit number or short-term rentals and convert existing short-term rental units back into long-term residential housing.

May 13, 2024 - USA Today

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

May 21, 2024 - The Architect's Newspaper

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Green and silver CTfastrak bus at a station in Elmwood, Connecticut.

Connecticut Bus System Earns Top Ranking

Hartford’s CTfastrak system wins out over other US bus networks for service quality and connectivity.

42 minutes ago - CT Insider

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

May 21 - The Architect's Newspaper

Close-up of back windshield of Waymo autonomous car.

NHTSA Launches Investigations Into Two More Self-Driving Automakers

The federal agency is responding to reports of crashes and erratic behavior from Waymo and Zoox vehicles.

May 21 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.