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CityLab
Transportation

To Measure the 'Uber Effect,' Cities Get Creative

Ride-hailing companies are cagey on all-important trip data. So researchers are finding clever workarounds.
Hello, traffic?
Hello, traffic?Josh Edelson/AP Images for Lyft

They’d cut back on traffic, ease air pollution, and complement public transit. Or so they said.

But the effects of Uber, Lyft, and other transportation network companies (“TNCs,” in wonk-speak) are proving more complicated on city streets. In New York City, rapid growth in on-demand vehicles roving the roads—with and without passengers—is contributing to markedly slower traffic, as numerous analyses of Taxi and Limousine Commission data by Bruce Schaller, a transportation consultant and former NYC DOT official, have shown.