18 Jun 19

New York City tackles congestion with cap

To decrease traffic congestion and increase pay for both taxi and ride-hailing drivers, New York City is extending its cap on new for-hire vehicle licenses. 

The news of the extension – which was officially passed by the city council last year – comes right on time, since the cap was about to expire in August. The cap on licenses will be expanded not only over time, but also with additional measures to reduce traffic congestion. 


Therefore, the city addresses the congesting and non-efficient part of ride hailing: deadheading, the time when a car is driving around empty on the look-out for new passengers. By Augustus 2020, deadheading time will be limited to 31% of their time on the road. This cap will apply to the core of Manhattan from 6am to 11pm on weekdays and from 8am to 11pm at the weekend. These are logical measures following a recent study that showed that 30% of traffic in Manhattan is caused by for-hire vehicles, while 40% of their time they are driving around empty, looking for passengers. 

Congestion battle

Add the congestion measures to the proposed congestion tax in New York city which will go into effect as from 2021, and you can see how NYC is trying to tackle its congestion problems profoundly. Yet, these measures should be accompanied by investments in alternative transport modes (from public transport to scooter sharing) in order to guarantee the mobility of its commuters, and/or to avoid surging ride hailing and taxi prices. 

Authored by: Fien Van den steen