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Yellow Cabs as Red Corpuscles

7 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2013  

Timothy Savage

Berkeley Research Group,LLC

Huy Vo

Center for Urban Science & Progress New York Univeristy

Date Written: October 15, 2013


Data obtained from New York City’s Taxi & Limousine Commission highlights the importance of yellow cabs in the city’s transportation infrastructure. In 2011, for example, there were nearly 180 million cab rides. In this paper, we provide detailed visualizations of these numerous journeys. Using a random sample, we also develop several relevant economic metrics. For example, we find that nearly half of all rides were taken by a single passenger traveling short distances. In contrast, out-of-pocket costs faced by passengers averaged less than $6 per mile, with 90% paying less than $8 per mile, even when the social value of the city’s roads is highest. From a city planner’s perspective, the current fare structure for yellow cabs may not be optimal. Finally, we propose a statistical method to analyze dynamic flow patterns of yellow-cab rides that can ultimately be extended to a multivariate model.

Keywords: Transportation, Markov Chains, Externalities, Congestion

JEL Classification: C51, D62, R41

Suggested Citation

Savage, Timothy and Vo, Huy, Yellow Cabs as Red Corpuscles (October 15, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Timothy Savage (Contact Author)

Berkeley Research Group,LLC ( email )

470 Atlantic Avenue
4th Floor
Boston, MA 02210
United States

Huy Vo

Center for Urban Science & Progress New York Univeristy ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

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