15 May 19

Ride hailing biggest contributor to traffic congestion

A new study has found that ridehailing rides are not only contributing to traffic congestion in San Francisco, but they are even the biggest contributor to it. 

Many studies already indicated there is a link between increasing traffic congestion and the rise of ridehailing companies. The new study recently published in Science Advances confirmed the relationship between both phenomenons and even states that for San Francisco in particular it was the biggest contributor to traffic congestion. The study said that between the launch of ridehailing in 2010 and its widespread use in 2016, weekday traffic delays increased by 62%. 

Ridehailing behaviour

The increased congestion is not only caused by the increased number of vehicles on the road, but also by particular ridehailing behaviour such as dead-heading, empty rides between two rides. In addition, picking-up and dropping-off passengers at the side or even on the road rather than in confined parking spaces hinders the traffic flows as well. 

62% vs 22%

The study has taken other factors into account as well that have contributed to traffic congestion during the study period, such as construction sites, increased truck travel, and an increase of visitors to San Francisco. Nevertheless, it still found that taking all these factors into account, in a scenario without ridehailing companies, there would only be a 22% increase in congestion, whereas with ridehailing it was 62%. 

Although the study researched the situation only in San Francisco, it will be interesting to duplicate the research in other cities as well, especially in the ones that are discussing to implement a traffic congestion taks such as New York City. 

Authored by: Fien Van den steen