Measuring the Impact of an Unanticipated Suspension of Ride-Sourcing in
20 Pages Posted: 31 May 2017
Date Written: May 31, 2017
On May 7, 2016 residents of Austin, TX voted against Proposition 1, which would have allowed transportation networking companies (TNCs) to continue using their own background check systems. The defeat of the proposition prompted Uber and Lyft to suspend services in Austin indefinitely. The suspension provided for a natural experiment to measure the impact of the suspension on travel behavior. In examining the impact, we conducted an online survey that combines stated and revealed preference questions (N=1,840) of former Uber and/or Lyft users in Austin to explore the effect of the suspension on travel behavior.
Regression analyses, modeled to capture both the before and after travel behavioral pattern of the suspension, were used to test our hypothesis of the impact of the service suspension on travel behavior along three dimensions — mode choice, trip frequency, and vehicle ownership. Our analysis finds that 42 percent of respondents who had used Uber or Lyft to make a trip prior to the suspension reported transitioning to another TNC as the means by which similar trips were most often made after the suspension. A near equal proportion (41 percent) reported transitioning to a personal vehicle, while 3 percent transitioned to public transit. The analysis also suggests that, when looking at trips made for the same purpose pre and post suspension, individuals that transitioned from Uber or Lyft to a personal vehicle were more likely (23 percent more likely) to make more trips than individuals transitioning from Uber or Lyft to another TNC. Additionally, approximately 9 percent reported purchasing an additional vehicle in response to the service suspension. The vehicle acquisition trend was driven primarily by respondents who were inconvenienced by the service suspension — the odds of acquiring a car for an inconvenienced respondent was more than five times that of an individual who was not. These results suggest that TNCs may contribute to reduced car ownership and trip making.
Keywords: On-demand transportation, ride-sourcing, ride-hailing, transportation network companies, service suspension, travel behavior, vehicle ownership, mode shift
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