Study Finds Ride Sharing Services To Be The Main Reason Behind Traffic Jams

While ride-sharing companies like Uber and others offer the convenience of taking us to place upon a few clicks, they are now facing the blame of being a notable reason behind massive traffic jams.

The claim has been made in a new study that was carried out in the US and it was based on how the industry leaders like Uber and Lyft operate. And as per the results, the transport network companies (TNCs) have only increased the urban transport challenges ever since they have made their debut in the US.

The researchers focused on three aspects of these companies on the urban mobility across the United States; road congestion, transit ridership, and private vehicle ownership. While the results can be different in other parts of the world but the conclusion does show that it is important that such a study should take place in other countries as well.

You can find the research being published in Nature Sustainability with the title ‘Impacts of transportation network companies on urban mobility. It is done by a team of researchers from Singapore–MIT Alliance for Research and Technology Centre, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT, and College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University in China.

Going into the depth of results, as the study covered mobility trends, socio-demographic change, and TNC entry at the metropolitan statistical areas level, Uber & Lyft contributed to increasing the road congestion as 0.9 percent by the intensity and 4.5 percent in terms of duration. It also resulted in an 8.9 percent decline in public transit ridership.

TNCs had the vision of making people less dependent on private vehicles but the results of the study stand contrary to that with an insignificant impact on reducing vehicle ownership (only 1 percent to be precise).

The study also indicates the alarming sign of how commuters who have access to ride-sharing apps now prefer to walk less or use public transportation which is dangerous for the environment in long term.

There is one advantage of this information as stated by Hui Kong, from MIT and one of the lead authors of the study, and that relates to the need for a change in policies which can eventually lead to positive changes.

Professor Mi Diao of Tongji University has also explained how the results of this study can offer valuable insights for transportation planners and policymakers to make better decisions regarding the operations of TNCs.

The authors also mentioned some limitations of the study which for now has only been at the city level. If there is more microdata available, it would then be easy to investigate the behavior mechanisms of the TNC effect. All in all, the study is still in its early stages.

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