Study Finds Mixed Results for Ride-Hailing Impact

The use of ride-hailing services results in increased traffic congestion and curbs use of more sustainable mode of transportation—buses, trains, biking and walking—while decreasing urban parking demand, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado.  

Noting the lack of data from the industry, the researchers conducted the study while driving vehicles for Lyft and Uber over a 14-week period in Denver. They conducted some 300 interviews and gathered data from more than 400 ride-hailing trips during this time.

The researchers found they spent more than 40% of their ride-hailing driving time “deadheading” without passengers, while their average passenger occupancy was 0.8 per mile. This could result in as much as 83% more vehicle miles driven using ride-hailing for the same trip than if such services didn’t exist, according to the study.

One-third of those polled indicated they were using such services in place of public transportation. The stress and hassle of having to find a parking spot near their destination was the second most cited reason for ordering a ride, according to the report.   

More than one-fourth of interviewees said they would have driven and parked themselves if ride-hailing wasn’t available As a result, the researchers conclude that ride-hailing services can reduce parking demand within a city, especially near restaurants, bars, shopping areas, event venues and airports. The results were published in the journal Transportation.