Laura Bliss is a staff writer at CityLab, covering transportation, infrastructure, and the environment. She also authors MapLab, a biweekly newsletter about maps that reveal and shape urban spaces (subscribe here). Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Los Angeles, GOOD, L.A. Review of Books, and beyond.
Oct 12, 2017
A comprehensive survey in major U.S. cities finds Uber and Lyft aren’t living up to climate-friendly promises.
Ride-hailing: enemy or friend of public transportation? Climate change combatant or urban traffic snarler?
Years of emerging research has yielded a murky mix of answers to those questions since Uber hit the road in 2009. At various points, the main ride-hailing companies have alternated between actively promoting their services as weapons that destroy public transit and positioning them as something more like partners that help people access other modes. But a new working paper by U.C. Davis transportation researchers—which reflects perhaps the most comprehensive survey of ride-hailing use in U.S. cities—makes some clear indications: The likes of Uber and Lyft are adding car trips to city and suburban streets, and in many cases, cannibalizing transit.