Ridehailing, Uncertainty, and Sustainable Transportation: How Transportation Stakeholders are Responding to the Unknowns Surrounding Ridehailing

This study investigates how stakeholders throughout California view the potential impacts of ridehailing services, such as Uber or Lyft, on transportation systems, and how to address such impacts. The stakeholders surveyed included city planning agencies, regional transportation planning agencies, metropolitan planning organizations, state agencies, ridehailing service providers, interest groups, and non-profits. Ridehailing is one of several emerging shared use mobility alternatives, poised to impact transportation systems, for better or worse. For better, if these new services catalyze the development and maturation of well-integrated multi-model transportation systems that serve all travelers and reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and transportation emissions. For worse, if these new services serve merely as a less expensive taxi, allowing more people to forego alternative modes of transportation like public transit and biking, thereby leading to increases in VMT, emissions, and congestion. The high degree of uncertainty surrounding the impacts of these services presents challenges to stakeholders involved in transportation planning and policy making. Through interviews, the researchers investigated the viewpoints of 42 transportation stakeholders throughout the state of California. They find that the diversity of interviewees is reflected in the sentiments they have about ridehailing, what issues are important and potential obstacles to achieving positive outcomes. Nonetheless, interviewees agree that regulations should balance local control with state level guidance.