Traffic Updates

Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft are directly responsible for making traffic in cities worse.

That’s not new: studies have arrived at the same conclusions again and again. What’s different this time around, though, is that Uber and Lyft actually funded the study that came back to point the finger at them, according to The Verge — which makes it more difficult than usual for the two companies to discredit the research.

Bumper To Bumper

Uber and Lyft jointly commissioned the transportation consultant firm Fehr & Peers to compare app-caused traffic to the rest of the traffic in a city. The results, shared online last week, show that rideshare trips are vastly outnumbered by personal vehicle use, but that they still account for a big chunk of metropolitan traffic.

Most damning: Uber and Lyft cause one to three percent of traffic in major cities’ surrounding counties, but seven to 14 percent of traffic in dense city centers.

Now What

Ironically, the app-funded study estimated that Uber and Lyft are responsible for twice as much traffic as independent studies that the two companies sought to discredit, per The Verge.

What the study didn’t answer is what would happen if Uber and Lyft vanished overnight. Sure, there would be fewer cars idly circulating the streets in search of a passenger, but for all we know those people would just drive themselves instead of dutifully riding public transit.

READ MORE: Uber and Lyft finally admit they’re making traffic congestion worse in cities [The Verge]

More on ride-hailing: Uber and Lyft Caused Half of San Francisco’s New Traffic Congestion Since 2010