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Study: Ride-Sharing Increases Urban Congestion

New research shows that ride sharing contributes to increased congestion and decreased transit ridership.
April 28, 2021, 12pm PDT | Diana Ionescu | @aworkoffiction
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"While ride-sharing has been credited with being more environmentally friendly than taxis and private vehicles," a new study from the the Future Urban Mobility (FM) Interdisciplinary Research Group (IRG) at Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), MIT, and Tongji University assessing the impacts of ride-sharing on urban mobility in the U.S. found that "the entrance of TNCs [Transportation Network Companies] led to increased road congestion in terms of both intensity and duration." The study also found that public transit ridership decreased by 8.9 percent, while private car ownership experienced an "insignificant decrease of only 1 percent."

The study concluded that "easy access to ride-sharing discourages commuters from taking greener alternatives, such as walking or public transportation," and that "approximately half of TNC trips would otherwise have been made by walking, cycling, public transport, or would not have been made at all."

"The researchers think that the substantial deadheading miles (miles traveled without a passenger) by TNCs could contribute to the TNC’s negative impact on road congestion. According to some other studies, approximately 40.8 percent of TNC miles are deadheading miles." The study's authors hope that their findings "can be very useful in supporting transportation planners and policymakers in their decisions and regulations with regard to TNCs."

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Published on Friday, April 23, 2021 in MIT News
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