A landscape that was once dominated by taxis and then gave way to mobile ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft (aka transportation network companies, or TNCs), appears to be taking on a new hybrid form as some taxi companies take cues from their modern competitors and even figure out how to partner with them.
New research by Anne Brown finds that transportation network companies are invading auto-access deserts, serving disadvantaged lower-income populations, and offering an alternative to the historically discriminatory taxi industry. By studying data provided by Lyft, the author found that, by some measures, Lyft reached 99.8 percent of the population of Los Angeles County, narrowing the mobility gap for underserved populations.
Significant research and debate in recent years have surrounded the impacts of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft on transportation systems: whether they reduce the need for personal vehicles, how they contribute to or reduce congestion, and how they impact transit ridership. A recent study published in the Journal of Transport Geography may help shed further light on some of these questions by examining taxi demand and its correlation to land use patterns and access to other travel modes in the Washington D.C. region. As the researchers point out, despite the significant growth of on-demand ride-hailing service providers like Uber and Lyft, taxis remain a key asset for urban mobility that can either complement or compete with other modes.