A Study of the Impact of Ridesharing on Public Transit Ridership

Existing literature on the relationship between ridehailing (RH) and transit services is limited to empirical studies that rely on self-reported answers and lack spatial and temporal contexts. To fill this gap, this research takes a novel approach that uses real-time geospatial analyses. Using this approach, we estimate the extent to which RH services have contributed to the recent decline in public transit ridership. With source data on RH trips in Chicago, Illinois, we computed the real-time transit-equivalent trips for the 7,949,902 RH trips taken in June 2019. The sheer size of this sample far exceeds the samples studied in existing literature. An existing multinomial nested logit model was used to determine the probability of a ridehailer selecting a transit alternative to serve the specific origin-destination pair, P(Transit|CTA). The study found that 31% of RH trips are replaceable, 61% are not replaceable, and 8% lie within the buffer zone. We measured the robustness of this probability using a parametric sensitivity analysis, and performed a two-tailed t-test, with a 95% confidence interval. In combination with a summation of probabilities, the results indicate that the total travel time for a transit trip has the greatest influence on the probability of using transit, whereas the airport pass price has the least influence. Further, walk time, number of stops in the origin and destination census tracts, and household income also have significant impacts on the probability of using transit. Lastly, we performed a time value analysis to explore the cost and trip duration difference between RH trips and their transit-equivalent trips on the probability of switching to transit. The findings demonstrated that approximately 90% of RH trips taken had a transit-equivalent trip that was less expensive, but slower. The main contribution of this study is its thorough approach and the fine-tuned series of real-time spatial analyses that investigate the replaceability of RH trips with public transit. The results and discussion intend to provide a perspective derived from real trips and to encourage public transit agencies to investigate possible opportunities to collaborate with RH companies. Moreover, the methodologies introduced can be used by transit agencies to internally evaluate opportunities and redundancies in services. Lastly, we hope that this effort provides proof of the research benefits associated with the recording and release of RH data.


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Funding: $110000
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

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

      Urban Mobility & Equity Center

      Morgan State University
      Baltimore, MD  United States  21251
    • Performing Organizations:

      Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

      Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
      3500 Transportation Research Plaza
      Blacksburg, VA  United States  24061
    • Principal Investigators:

      Rakha, Hesham

      Du, Jianhe

    • Start Date: 20200501
    • Expected Completion Date: 20200630
    • Actual Completion Date: 20210430
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01741865
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Urban Mobility & Equity Center
    • Contract Numbers: 69A43551747123
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Jun 3 2020 2:24PM