Measuring the impact of an unanticipated suspension of ride-sourcing in Austin, Texas

Measuring the impact of an unanticipated suspension of ride-sourcing in Austin, Texas

On May 7, 2016, residents of Austin, Texas, voted against Proposition 1, which would have allowed ridesourcing/transportation networking companies (TNCs) to continue using their own background check systems. The defeat of the proposition prompted Uber and Lyft to suspend services in Austin indefinitely. The disruption provided for a natural experiment to evaluate the impact of Uber and Lyft on users’ travel demand and the supply side implications of the entry of new players. Our paper focuses solely on the demand side user response to the disruption. In examining the impact, we conducted an online survey that combines stated and revealed preference questions (N=1,840) of former Uber and/or Lyft users in Austin to explore the effect of the disruption on travel behavior. In order to test our hypothesis of the impact of the service suspension on changes in travel mode choice and trip frequency we used regression analyses to model both the before and after travel behavioral pattern.

Key findings

Our analysis revealed that of the population surveyed, 45% switched to the use of personal vehicles after disruption while only 3% shifted to public transit.

Individuals who switched to personal vehicles also include 8.9% of respondents who reported purchasing a vehicle in response to the service disruption.

In addition, an individual who switched to a personal vehicle increased his or her probability of a higher trip frequency post disruption by 14%.

The probability of a higher trip frequency for individuals who were satisfied with the quality of Uber and Lyft services pre-disruption however decreased from 21% to 6%.

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