Chicago, USA — It seems that not only increased job opportunities and raised transportation convenience is associated with ridesharing services, but also increased traffic congestion and road accidents.
A Chicago Booth study showed that vehicle fatalities increased by 3% since the arrival of ridesharing services.
The researchers reviewed the eight quarters before and after Uber and Lyft adaptation in large U.S. cities from 2001-16. There, they analyzed traffic volume, transportation choices, and accidents to come up with a conclusion.
Furthermore, the reported increase in fatalities seems to persist over time. For instance, the number of roadway deaths in the U.S. stood at 32,885 in 2010. However, that number increased to more than 37,400 in 2016. The researchers found that ridesharing services accounted for 987 deaths each year.
There are many reasons why ridesharing apps contribute to the growth of traffic fatalities. One of which is the fact that ride-hailing services put more cars on the road. Hence, the more cars, the greater the possibilities of accidents involving drivers, passengers, bikers, and pedestrians.
Moreover, the most significant increase in accidents occurred in larger cities. Meanwhile, in cities that introduced ride-hailing, bike and pedestrian fatalities from car-related accidents have increased at a similar rate to all driving fatalities.
Additionally, Uber and Lyft must maintain large numbers of cars on the road in order to get customers efficiently. Hence, the companies encourage drivers to stay on the road between fares. This results in more cars on the road than usual.
While the researchers acknowledge the undeniable benefits of ridesharing services, they emphasize that “the annual cost in human lives is nontrivial.” Instead, they describe their study as “pointing to the need for further research and debate about the overall cost-benefit tradeoff of ride-hailing.”