Uber Technology Inc. (NYSE:UBER) and Lyft Inc. (NASDAQ:LYFT) operations in several urban areas have been associated with an increase in car ownership by 0.7% on average per capita. This is according to research published in the journal of iScience that analyzed data from major cities in the US between 2011 and 2017.
Ridesharing linked to an increase in car ownership
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania led by Jeremy Michalek analyzed vehicle ownership trends across 224 urban areas across the US. They studied how ride-sharing companies such as Lyft or Uber influenced car ownership in the cities. Michalek said that that they had expected that car ownership in the areas could go down. This is because when residents access ride-sharing as an alternative model of travel they are likely to do away with owning a car.
Interestingly the researchers found that vehicle ownership trend changes in the urban areas per capita once a ride-sharing company entered the area. On overage, there was a 0.7% increase in car ownerships across the cities through time with the increase pronounced in larger car-dependent urban arrears and cities with rapid population growth.
An increase in car ownership outweighs a decrease in riders’ ownership
Michalek opines that the increasing trend cod be because of the increase by drivers which outweighs the decrease in riders ownership. He said that some of the individuals considering driving for Lyft or Uber could be on the edge in whether they can afford a new vehicle. Michalek adds that being able to earn some extra cash for ride-sharing companies during weekends could be pushing people over. He however indicated that the increase in car ownership doesn’t necessarily have to be attributed to an increase in emission.
The University of Washington, Seattle’s Os Keyes said that this trend is not surprising in a lot of respects. This is because if there is an opportunity to make money by having a car then more people are likely to own one. The study also investigated the effect of ridesharing services and transit use.