Understanding the Surprising and Oversized Use of Ridesourcing Services in Poor Neighborhoods in New York City

For-hire vehicle trips in the five boroughs of New York City from 2014 to 2017 increased by 82 million annually (46%). This paper describes how factor analysis and cluster analysis were used to create a typology that was applied to quantify how usage patterns have evolved in different types of neighborhood. Having surged 40-fold, ridesourcing trips originating in the outer boroughs now constitute 56% of the overall market. Many of the outer borough neighborhoods in which ridesourcing trips originated are home to minority, relatively low-income populations with low car ownership rates. It is possible that these trips in the outer boroughs are being taken by local residents to fill gaps in mobility services, as these locations are less well-served by public transportation and other for-hire vehicles such as yellow taxis. The surge in ridesourcing trips in the outer boroughs is important for three reasons. First, if ridesourcing is being used to provide desired levels of accessibility by outer borough residents, having this need filled by for-profit entities with notoriously variable pricing structures could have long-term consequences for transportation equity. Second, if the trips represent induced travel, the associated externalities will negatively affect vehicle emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, and transportation safety. Third, local policy makers need to be aware of the dynamics unfolding in the outer boroughs because regulations that have been adopted to reduce congestion currently only apply to trips originating in Manhattan. Moreover, all stakeholders should reassess how disruptive transportation technology companies are regulated with respect to data sharing.

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    • The Standing Committee on Effects of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on Travel Choices (ADB20) peer-reviewed this paper (19-04270). © National Academy of Sciences: Transportation Research Board 2019.
  • Authors:
    • Atkinson-Palombo, Carol
    • Varone, Lorenzo
    • Garrick, Norman W
  • Publication Date: 2019-11


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01711265
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 19-04270
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Feb 20 2019 9:21AM