MIT Finds Carpooling With Uber, Lyft Could Reduce Number Of New York Taxis


Jan 3, 2017

Looks like sharing really is caring, as far as the everyday commuter and environment are concerned. But don’t tell that to traditional taxi drivers.

study conducted by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that increased carpooling through ride-hailing services, such as Uber and Lyft, could eliminate the need for more than 75 percent of the 14,000 taxis roaming the streets of New York, via Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory professor Daniela Rus’s team used computer models to show how ride-sharing, could drastically improve commuting conditions in urban environments.

As few as 3,000 four-passenger cars could reportedly serve 98 percent of New York’s commuting demand, with an average wait time of 2.7 minutes. Researchers also found that a fleet of just 2,000 ten-person vehicles could meet 95 percent of the city’s current demand for taxis.

Both Uber and Lyft already have carpool features, but they aren’t extremely popular as customers don’t want to make multiple stops along their trip. Even though they require you to stop more, these services are a far more efficient when utilized by the masses.

“Our ride-pooling solution will reduce the number of vehicles needed to support the transportation demands of a city but this does not mean that the driving jobs are going away,” Rus said to Gizmodo. “Another way to think about this is that the jobs are getting better: Drivers will be able to make the same amount of money working shorter shifts — while the customers will get the same level of service, cities will have fewer cars on roads, the commute experience will be better for everyone in the city, and the air is cleaner.”

Although Rus’s team only ran simulations for the “Big Apple,” they said it could also be used to create more efficient transportation models for other cities.

Thumbnail photo via Pexels

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