The rapid growth of app-based ride services such as Uber, Lyft and Via, also called Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) raises the question of how anti-congestion plans being developed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio should address the impact of TNC trips on traffic congestion, particularly in the most congested areas of Manhattan.
Using newly available data on TNC trips, this report examines the impact of TNC growth on Manhattan traffic conditions. Findings indicate that TNC growth has generated large increases in the number of TNC vehicles in the Manhattan Central Business District (CBD) between 2013 and 2017. Highlights:
Taking into account the decline in yellow cab trips, the combined number of taxi/TNC vehicles on weekdays in the CBD increased by 59 percent between 2013 and 2017.
In the afternoon peak from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., there are over 10,000 taxi/TNC vehicles in the CBD, more than double the number in 2013.
One-third of the vehicles are empty, meaning between the drop-off of one passenger and pick-up of the next passenger, clogging the streets without any mobility benefit to anyone.
This rapid growth is the product of several factors: increased number of trips, a trend toward longer trips (in distance), slower traffic speeds, and drivers spending more time between fare-paying trips.