What Can Transit Agencies Learn from TNCs’ Late-Night Popularity?

  • Author: Colin Murphy
  • Source: Shared Use Mobility Center
  • Date: 01/25/2018

A new study by SUMC for the Transit Cooperative Research Program finds that peak use of transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft comes on weekends and evenings, not during rush hours when public-transit use is highest. SUMC’s findings were based on one of the first uses of origin-destination trip data provided by a major TNC. This finding was presented in TCRP Report 195Broadening Understanding of the Interplay between Public Transit, Shared Mobility, and Personal Automobiles.

“Public transit is the backbone of any urban transportation system,” said Sharon Feigon, SUMC’s executive director. “Having this data and doing this study gave us a lot of new insights. In a congested environment, generally nothing is more efficient at moving lots of people than public transit. But we can see where TNCs fit into the gaps where the transit systems don’t work as well. People want flexibility and frequency and services like Uber and Lyft are filling in the gaps. We want to create an ecosystem of choices to create a multimodal system that can work for all.”

SUMC conducted the study for the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), a division of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The study synthesized origin-destination data for TNC trips for five US metro areas; a 10,000-person survey of transit and shared-mobility users conducted by SUMC; and rider surveys supplied by four large public transit agencies.

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