Ride-hailing services like Uber make traffic worse - study

Ride-hailing has contributed to growing congestion, a new study has found.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, found companies like Uber and Lyft were the biggest contributor to increased traffic congestion in San Francisco between 2010 and 2016.

Researchers used data on volumes, drop-offs and pick-ups from Uber and Lyft, and modelled their effects on travel times and roadway conditions.

They found on a weekday vehicle hours of delay, the difference in travel time between congested and free flow traffic, increased by 62 percent, and vehicle speeds decreased by 13 percent.

A model that did not include ride-hailing showed vehicle hours of delay only increased by 22 percent, and speeds decreased by 4 percent.

The services were also linked to less reliable travel times, which led to travellers having to add in more buffer time if they wanted to reach their intended destination on time.

Overall, it was found the services did not decrease the number of cars on the road - in fact, they replaced trips that would have been done outside of cars or not happened at all.

"The results show some substitution between [ride-hailing] and other car trips, but that most [ride-hailing] trips are adding new cars to the road.

"The estimated models show that Uber and Lyft vehicles stopping at the curb to pick up or drop off passengers have a notable disruptive effect on traffic flow, especially on major arterials."


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