Uber, Public Transit, and Urban Transportation Equity

Authors: Scarlett Ting Jin*, The Ohio State University, Hui Kong, The Ohio State University, Daniel Z. Sui, The Ohio State University; Division of Social and Economic Sciences, The U.S. National Science Foundation
Topics: Transportation Geography
Keywords: ridesourcing, the sharing economy, Uber, urban transportation, equity
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Proteus, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


With the explosive growth of Uber and other mobility service providers, their influences on urban mobility have attracted attention from both researchers and policy circles alike, and yet few quantitative studies have been conducted on the topic. Using Uber pickup data in New York City (NYC) in 2014, this paper investigates the spatiotemporal relationship between Uber and public transit using buffer analysis and spatial cross-correlation analysis, and assesses Uber’s impact on urban transportation equity with the Gini coefficient and correlation analysis. Our results confirm previous arguments that Uber both complements and competes with public transit. Specifically, Uber complements public transit during midnight when public transit supply is relatively low and in areas where public transit services are inadequate, and it competes with public transit during the rest of the day and in areas with high public transit coverage. The distribution of Uber services is highly unequal and Uber’s role in improving transport equity is insignificant. Correlation analysis shows that there tend to be fewer Uber pickups in low-income areas, which diverges from previous studies suggesting that Uber serves low-income areas well. In addition, a weak negative correlation is detected between the number of Uber pickups and the percentage of minorities.

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