Authors: Susan Shaheen, PhD, Jessica Lazarus, Juan Caicedo, Alexandre Bayen, PhD
Date: February 1, 2021
On-demand mobility services including transportation network companies (also known as ridesourcing and ridehailing) like Lyft and Uber are changing the way that people travel by providing dynamic mobility that can supplement public transit and personal-vehicle use. However, TNC services have been found to contribute to increasing vehicle mileage, traffic congestion, and greenhouse gas emissions. Pooling rides ⎯ sharing a vehicle by multiple passengers to complete journeys of similar origin and destination ⎯ can increase the average vehicle occupancy of TNC trips and thus mitigate some of the negative impacts. Several mobility companies have launched app-based pooling services in recent years including app-based carpooling services (e.g., Waze Carpool, Scoop) that match drivers with riders; pooled on-demand ride services (e.g., Uber Pool and Lyft Shared rides) that match multiple TNC users; and microtransit services (e.g., Bridj, Chariot, Via) that offer on-demand, flexibly routed service, typically in larger vehicles such as vans or shuttles. However, information on the potential impacts of these options is so far limited. This research employs a general population stated preference survey of four California metropolitan regions (Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, and the San Francisco Bay Area) in Fall 2018 to examine the opportunities and challenges for drastically expanding the market for pooling, accounting for differences in emergent travel behavior and preferences across the four metropolitan regions surveyed. The travel profiles, TNC use patterns, and attitudes and perceptions of TNCs and pooling are analyzed across key socio-demographic attributes to enrich behavioral understanding of marginalized and price sensitive users of on-demand ride services. This research further develops a discrete choice model to identify significant factors influencing a TNC user’s choice to pool or not to pool, as well as estimating a traveler’s value of time (VOT) across different portions of a TNC trip. This research provides key insights and social equity considerations for policies that could be employed to reduce vehicle miles traveled and emissions from passenger road transportation by incentivizing the use of pooled on-demand ride services and public transit.