Study finds ride-sharing services making gridlock worse

Global Business

A recent study from conducted by academics and local planning agencies in Boston have found that ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft have only led to more traffic.

In a survey of more than 900 riders, nearly 60 percent said they wouldn’t have even been in the car if they didn’t have those apps.

CGTN’s Mark Niu reports.

Companies like Uber and Lyft were founded with the vision of eliminating traffic. But on the streets of San Francisco, look around and you’ll see ride-hailing cars on the street everywhere.

A 2017 study by Northeastern University and the San Francisco County Transportation Authority found that during peak periods ride-hailing cars — primarily Uber and Lyft — made up a quarter of vehicle trips in the densest and most congested parts of San Francisco. In San Francisco, there are now fifteen times as many Uber and Lyft cars as taxis.

“We’re deeply concerned about this notion that it’s pulling people off of transit, or pulling people off of biking, walking and transit, or creating entirely new car trips,” Tilly Chang, executive director of the San Francisco Country Transportation Authority said. “Especially if there’s only one person in a Lyft or an Uber. We want to better understand as the companies tell us if the majority of trips really are two or three people. Our goal is to move people, not cars.”

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority’s request to get trip data from both Uber and Lyft did not succeed. The city attorney had to file a lawsuit to get that information. So far, Lyft is complying. But according to the city attorney, Uber has fought them at every turn. Last year, in a three-month study in various San Francisco neighborhoods, police found that ride-hailing companies committed more than 64-percent of the traffic violations.

“We’re also seeing now that there’s so many of them that they created a lot of traffic and conflicts with pedestrians and cyclists,” Chang said. “In some case they are double parking in the bus lane, double parking in the bicycle lane. As a city I think we need to accept that there’s a need for a private and public cooperation, as well as perhaps some regulation.”

The Transportation Authority has also discovered another sign of congestion in their San Francisco – average highway and road speeds have fallen by seven to twelve percent over the past two years. But on the positive side, they’ve managed to keep bus speeds the same by giving them signal and lane priorities.