Ridesharing using Uber and similar services was supposed to help ease congestion but instead is choking up our streets even more.
The latest research shows that your friendly ridesharing driver is not only making peak congestion more intense, but is extending congestion further across the day.
The problem, it seems, is the huge amount of kilometres the drivers have to travel with no passengers in the car.
The study, published in Nature Sustainability, was undertaken by researchers affiliated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States and Tongji University in Singapore.
It examined the impact of Uber and Lyft in the United States.
As well as assessing the impact on congestion, the study looked at the impact on public transport and car ownership.
The results were bad on that front also.
They also found a 8.9 per cent drop in public transport ridership and an decrease of only one per cent in private vehicle ownership.
The study also found easy access to ridesharing discourages commuters from taking greener alternatives like walking or taking public transportation.
The research team claims survey data from various US cities also showed that approximately half of ridesharing trips would otherwise have been made by walking, cycling, public transport or would not have been made at all.
“While mathematical models in prior studies showed that the potential benefit of on-demand shared mobility could be tremendous, our study suggests that translating this potential into actual gains is much more complicated in the real world,” said Principal Investigator and Associate Professor at MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Jinhua Zhao.
“Our research shows that over time Transport Network Companies have intensified urban transport challenges and road congestion in the United States, mainly through the extended duration and slightly through the increased intensity.
"With this information, policies can be introduced that could lead to positive changes.”
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.