Social and trip-level predictors of pooled ride-hailing service adoption in the Greater Boston

Social and trip-level predictors of pooled ride-hailing service adoption in the Greater Boston

Ridesharing holds promise as a more efficient and sustainable version of emergent ride-hailing services. However, the adoption of pooled services in which individuals pay a reduced fare to share a portion of their ridehailing trip with other passengers has substantially lagged in popularity to the standard single-party services offered by Uber and Lyft in many American cities. To help guide policies and programs targeted at increasing pooling shares, this study analyzes data collected during fall 2017 from an in-vehicle intercept survey of 944 ride-hailing passengers in the Greater Boston region. These data, which describe the socioeconomic background, mobility options, and trip context of single-party and pooled ride-hailing survey respondents, were used to identify differences in the trip patterns and individual characteristics of passengers adopting the two service types and then estimate the individual-level social and trip-related predictors of ridesharing for different purposes.

Key findings

   This study has indicated that pooled services are favored by individuals who are also younger, but tend to have a lower educational attainment level, household income, limited personal vehicle access, and identify as a member of a racial or ethnic minority group.

   In terms of travel patterns and characteristics, pooled ride-hailing trips were most common in the region’s inner core neighborhoods and to occur on the weekend or middle of a weekday, with sampled passengers who opted for ride sharing more likely to state that they would have walked, cycled, or used public transit if ride-hailing services were not available for their observed trip.

   Since these passengers are adopting ride-hailing services that negatively affect transit ridership and congestion in lieu of more sustainable and affordable mobility options, transportation policies that promote or subsidize pooled ride-hailing services for lower-income households rather than offer a more systemic improvement in transit access and reliability should only be viewed as a stopgap strategy.

   Traditional taxi services are most likely to be replaced by standard single-party services and that ride-hailing passengers tend to prefer pooling as an alternative to public transit.

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