The Cost of Convenience: Ridehailing and Traffic Fatalities

69 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2020

See all articles by John Manuel Barrios

John Manuel Barrios

Washington University in St. Louis - Olin Business School

Yael V. Hochberg

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business

Hanyi Yi

Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business

Date Written: February 2020

Abstract

We examine the effect of the introduction of ridehailing in U.S. cities on fatal traffic accidents. The arrival of ridehailing is associated with an increase of approximately 3% in the number of fatalities and fatal accidents, for both vehicle occupants and pedestrians. The effects persist when controlling for proxies for smartphone adoption patterns. Consistent with ridehailing increasing congestion and road usage, we find that introduction is associated with an increase in arterial vehicle miles traveled, excess gas consumption, and annual hours of delay in traffic. On the extensive margin, ridehailing’s arrival is also associated with an increase in new car registrations. These effects are higher in cities with prior higher use of public transportation and carpools, consistent with a substitution effect, and in larger cities. These effects persist over time. Back-of-the-envelope estimates of the annual cost in human lives range from $5.33B to $13.24B.

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Suggested Citation

Barrios, John Manuel and Hochberg, Yael V. and Yi, Hanyi, The Cost of Convenience: Ridehailing and Traffic Fatalities (February 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w26783, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3547133

John Manuel Barrios (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - Olin Business School ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1208
Saint Louis, MO MO 63130-4899
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Yael V. Hochberg

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business ( email )

6100 South Main Street
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States

Hanyi Yi

Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business ( email )

6100 South Main Street
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States

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