Understanding the Surprising and Oversized Use of Ridesourcing Services in Poorer Neighborhoods in NYC

Initial studies of ridesourcing services found that early adopters were relatively affluent, educated, young urbanites willing to experiment with new smartphone-enabled technologies. Similarly, early studies undertaken in settings like San Francisco reinforced this description of the customer base and added that services were most typically used for shopping and leisure trips on evenings and weekends. It was therefore surprising to the project team that in the five boroughs of New York City, preliminary research that the project team has undertaken revealed that a majority of ridesourcing trips in 2017 originated in the outer boroughs in neighborhoods, predominantly populated by relatively low-income minority residents with limited access to public transit. It is unclear whether the trips are being taken by local residents to fill a gap that exists in public transportation services or by people outside the community for other reason(s). If ridesharing is being used to provide desired levels of accessibility, then having this need filled by for-profit entities could have long-term negative consequences for transportation equity. This project will use surveys, interviews, and spatial analysis of geocoded Twitter feeds about various companies providing ridesourcing to glean insights about these trips. The project team is especially interested in learning what has caused this rapid growth in trips originating in the outer boroughs, who is taking the trips, where they are going, and whether or not this represents additional travel or whether it is replacing trips already undertaken via different means. The project team's findings will provide insights about the implications of these ridesourcing trips for equity considerations, as well as externalities caused by any increased Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) that will be of interest to policy-makers. The mixed method spatiotemporal tools developed in this study will be applicable to a wide range of settings and illustrate the importance of contextual factors in evaluating the impacts of technologies that are disrupting the traditional landscape of transportation research and policy.


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Funding: $119898
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Center for Advanced Multimodal Mobility Solutions and Education

      University of North Carolina, Charlotte
      Charlotte, NC  United States  28223

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      University of North Carolina, Charlotte

      Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
      9201 University City Boulevard
      Charlotte, NC  United States  28223-0001
    • Project Managers:

      Fan, Wei

    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Connecticut, Storrs

      Storrs, CT  United States  06268-5202
    • Principal Investigators:

      Garrick, Norman

    • Start Date: 20181001
    • Expected Completion Date: 20200930
    • Actual Completion Date: 20200930

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01699646
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Center for Advanced Multimodal Mobility Solutions and Education
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747133
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Mar 25 2019 9:55AM