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The sustainability of shared mobility: Can a platform for shared rides reduce motorized traffic in cities?

Tirachini, A; Chaniotakis, E; Abouelela, M; Antoniou, C; (2020) The sustainability of shared mobility: Can a platform for shared rides reduce motorized traffic in cities? Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies , 117 , Article 102707. 10.1016/j.trc.2020.102707.

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Abstract

Studies in several cities indicate that ridesourcing (ride-hailing) may increase traffic and congestion, given the substitution of more sustainable modes and the addition of empty kilometers. On the other hand, there is little evidence if smartphone apps that target shared rides have any influence on reducing traffic levels. We study the effects of a shared-mobility service offered by a start-up in Mexico City, Jetty, which is used by travelers to book a shared ride in a car, van or bus. A large-scale user survey was conducted to study trip characteristics, reasons for using the platform and the general travel choices of Jetty users. We calculate travel distance per trip leg, for the current choices and for the modes that riders would have chosen if the platform was not available. We find that the effect of the platform on vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT) depends on the rate of empty kilometers introduced by the fleet of vehicles, the substitution of public versus private transport modes, the occupancy rate of Jetty vehicles and assumptions on the occupancy rate of substituted modes. Following a sensitivity analysis approach for variables with unavailable data, we estimate that shared rides in cars increase VKT (in the range of 7 to 10 km/passenger), shared vans are able to decrease VKT (around −0.2 to −1.1 km/passenger), whereas buses are estimated to increase VKT (0.4 to 1.1 km/passenger), in our preferred scenarios. These results stem from the tradeoff between the effects of the occupancy rates per vehicle (larger vehicles are shared by more people) and the attractiveness of the service for car users (shared vans attract more car drivers than buses booked through Jetty). Our findings point to the relevance of shared rides in bigger vehicles such as vans as competitors to low occupancy car services for the future of mobility in cities, and to the improvement of public transportation services through the inclusion of quality attributes as provided by new shared-mobility services.

Type: Article
Title: The sustainability of shared mobility: Can a platform for shared rides reduce motorized traffic in cities?
DOI: 10.1016/j.trc.2020.102707
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trc.2020.102707
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Shared mobility, Vanpooling, Ride-splitting, Public transportation, Transportation Network Companies, Ride-hailing
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10104500
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