Study Aims To Determine If Ride-sharing Services Are Putting More Cars on The Road

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

The National Resources Defense Council’s Urban Solution program will study the impact ride-sharing services have on the environment, the group announced Friday. The study will be conducted with the University of California Berkley Transportation Sustainability Research Center to determine what environmental impacts services such as Lyft and Uber have on pollution and congestion.

” … Others wonder if these companies are competing with public transit, substituting for walking and biking trips, or perhaps adding more cars to the road,” wrote Amanda Eaken, a researcher for the NRDC, a non-profit environmental group.

The study follows increased scrutiny on whether the ride-sharing services were putting more cars — not less — on roads around the world.

In June, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio dropped his plan to limit Uber cars on the road, according to the New York Times. Instead, that city would study for four months whether the car-sharing service was taking revenue away from mass transportation and adequately accommodating disabled passengers.

Eaken told The Verge that her group would comprehensively study the companies’ impact.

“We don’t yet understand what impact Uber and Lyft are having on our transportation system,” she said. “Some people speculate that they are enabling people to live in cities without owning a car, which both saves them money — average cost to own a car is $9,000 a year — but also we know when people don’t own cars they drive less. No big surprise.

“There could certainly be environmental benefits from these companies. On the other hand, some speculate that people are using Uber and Lyft instead of walking, biking, or transit. So there could be a detrimental effect.”

According to Eaken, the results will be published next fall.

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  • APaGttH APaGttH on Nov 15, 2015

    Hippies won't be happy until we are riding horses. Free range horses that gave us permission to ride them and fed an only organic, local sourced, diet. Oh, and they have to sleep in your teepee, sharing the same natural straw you sleep on covered in a hemp fiber blanket.

  • Brandloyalty Brandloyalty on Nov 15, 2015

    Basically Uber is a way to let anyone use their car as a taxi. This does nothing to reduce use of cars. Maybe the taxi companies should adopt technology like Uber uses. And "ride sharing" could be implemented as what its name implies: if you're going somewhere anyway and wish to take someone along for a nominal fee, then post your upcoming ride. The facilitating app/business would match people wanting rides with people driving somewhere anyway.

    • Jeff Zekas Jeff Zekas on Nov 16, 2015

      Uber pays minimum wage, but offers lower costs to riders- so, perhaps a hybrid of Uber convenience and conventional taxicab regulation would work best for everyone.

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