New Mobility Services

New Mobility Services

Carsharing services such as Zipcar and car2go, newer mobility services such as Lyft and Uber, as well as bikesharing are popularly seen as being more sustainable than private car travel. Although users of these services tend to drive less, it is unclear how much of this is causal (people to own fewer cars and drive less because they use these services) versus self-selection (people choose to use these services because they already own fewer cars and have less need to drive). Additionally, there are open questions about how these services interact with existing transit services and what their implications are for low-income travelers and other underserved groups.

Current Projects

  • We are working to identify the causal effect of increasing mobility services usage on vehicle ownership, residential location choices, and travel demand.
  • We are evaluating the time savings and cost premium of car2go versus transit over millions of car2go trips.
  • We are working to understand interactions between bikesharing and public transportation demand.
  • With support from NASA, we are exploring how to forecast demand for on-demand air mobility (i.e. flying autonomous taxis).

Completed Projects

  • We have characterized the ridership of UberHOP, a fixed-route vanpool service offered by Uber in Seattle from December 2015 – August 2016. Details can be found in this TRB paper.
  • With support from the UW’s Royalty Research fund, and in collaboration with partners at Stanford and MIT, we have explored whether Uber and Lyft provide an equitable quality of service to travelers of different races and in lower-income neighborhoods. Details can be found in this NBER working paper.