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Study shows ride-hailing is likely increasing street traffic

Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft may be adding more cars on the road, according to a new study published by the U.C. Davis Institute of Transportation Studies this week. Though the study found that 9% of car owners said they've disposed or one or more of them because of ride-hailing, it's unclear whether it's reduced their total vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

  • Ride-hailing users who also use public transit have higher personal ownership rates than those who only use public transit.
  • Ride-hailing has led to a net 6% reduction in public transit use by Americans in major cities (draws people away from buses and light rail, but complements commuter rails).
  • A majority (49% to 61%) of ride-hailing trips would have not been made at all, or by walking, biking, or public transit, likely adding to the total VMT.

Why it matters: Since their inception, these companies have made lofty claims about ride-hailing's environmental benefits, including reducing car ownership. They've also used these argument when persuading regulators to permit their operations.This study (and others) shows that it's likely not the case at all.

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