City streets are a scarce resource, and they can get very congested. During peak times, we want to move as many people through these corridors as efficiently as possible. On this, I think we all agree.
But some people want to lay the blame for urban traffic congestion on the growing popularity of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, and a recent report by transportation consultant Bruce Schaller gives support to this idea: Schaller’s analysis shows that, over the past six years, ride-sharing services have added 5.7 billion vehicle miles traveled and increased trips by 241 percent in nine major U.S. cities.
That sounds like a lot! But Schaller’s framing sets us up for failure. Cities have been congested and transit has been poorly used for years before these companies set up shop.