According to a new study, taking an Uber or Lyft adds more in external social & environmental costs (noise, congestion, emissions) than driving a private vehicle. There's only one way to reduce all those external costs, and it ain't an app.
Very interesting study! As someone who used to live in a very car-based city, I can attest that TNCs don't reduce car ownership - just add another vehicle option. (However they did significantly reduce drunk driving, which has a huge value!!)
One point - EVs *do* produce particulate air pollution. The majority of particulate pollution from vehicles is from tire/brake/clutch wear and resuspension - which is true for all vehicles, electric or ICE. EVs don't produce particulate pollution from the tailpipe and they are certainly better than diesel cars for air pollution, but just further evidence of the need to reduce car use altogether.
This doesn't jibe with my personal experience.
The availability of Lyft etc factored prominently in our decision to radically decrease our car usage and increase shared car usage. My young adult children are not buying (or at least deferring) cars because of the availability of these services. We have talked aging parents into giving up cars because of these services.
I don't like these services because they contribute to a gig economy that undercuts our goals of providing living wage jobs. Yet, for now, all the drivers that I talk to use this income to allow then to start their own businesses, go to school, care for children, earn money as part of retirement, give them bridge income between jobs. In my experience, it also means that people far less likely to drive wasted.
I get that your premise was to be lazor-focused on environmental externalities. But I think that in and of itself is problematic. You can't separate the two -- it is all intertwined. Silo-ing environmental issues is a major reason that we are in this mess in the first place.
All my examples are clearly anecdotal. I guess I'll have to read the actual research before I form a strong opinions. Imagine that. Reading the research before ranting...
From, A new subscriber, who despite my rant, is really enjoying reading Volts.
Hmm... If there were a lot more of them, and a lot more people using them, I assume that would reduce the deadheading time significantly, and change this analysis. If they were being used full time for ride hailing, I assume that would increase the benefits from avoiding the embedded emissions in a car that sits in a garage 95% of the time. Whether people will be willing to share rides in them certainly is the game changing question though.
If you're interested in this issue, and haven't read it, Tony Seba's dramatically more optimistic pitch on where we're heading is worth looking at. There's a report at https://www.rethinkx.com/transportation, and a conference presentation at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duWFnukFJhQ
David, you're making me feel guilty. For three years, I operated without a car (facilitated by public transit and an occasional Uber). I've upgraded to EVs for the past three years.
"The only solution to the problem of cars is fewer cars. That should be the goal of policy — not just transportation policy, but land-use policy and urban policy and economic policy and climate policy. For those who care about the public good, Uber and Lyft are a distraction."
That sums it up well. The point I will add is that our infrastructure itself is not compatible with future climate goals. The cost, energy, and required maintenance of roads, streets, and auto infrastructure must be reduced substantially. I know this is likely worse than telling people they must eat less beef, but that is the bad news. The good news is that if we do ween ourselves off the personal automobile, develop more rail technology and implement it quickly, we can continue enjoying a high standard of living with many advantages coming with the change.
I am willing to give up Uber and Lyft--I rarely use them now, as I prefer using our electric trike. But, the infrastructure we need that would help immensely for those of willing to use alternates like bikes, scooters, and walking, is that we need better lighting for twilight/night use. Otherwise, we are forced to use vehicles that are safer when daylight is not present. Since most multi-use trails and bike routes are thought of for day use, there is little thought and nearly no provision for night use.