The Ridesharing Gamechanger for Traffic

While Uber, Lyft, Didi, Ola and other major players in the ridesharing world have disrupted the traditional taxi cab industry, there is still a huge opportunity to further bring down the number of cars on the road on a daily basis. Despite the proliferation of ubiquitous ridesharing apps in the crowded shared transport space, there appears to be a big opportunity in terms of optimizing the number of cars that get on the road – thereby avoiding higher traffic while saving commute times during peak hours.

Credits from Ridesharing site http://www.sharedmobility.news/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/shared11.png /><br />
Credits from Shared mobility site http://www.sharedmobility.news/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/shared11.png.</p>
<p>Let us examine some of the current types of vehicular traffic that cities have: </p>
<p>Public transportation: Big cities all over the world have invested in public transport in the form of trains and bus transit. However, this still hasn’t solved the last mile connectivity challenge for commuters which cars, with their comfort and flexibility, tend to provide. </p>
<p>Ridesharing vehicles: I would rather call them cab hailing or taxi hailing companies. Many drivers of cab hailing companies like Uber, Lyft and Ola have helped optimize traffic in most cities by increasing seat utilization per car. However, they have also added to the traffic congestion (<a href=Ridesharing and traffic impact, especially in cities like Bangalore. Convenience and higher earnings potential have been the primary encouragement factors for former auto rickshaw drivers and cab drivers to invest in buying cars. Hence, there are advantages and disadvantages to the explosive growth of ride hailing companies, especially if consumers opt for comfort and last mile connectivity.

Personal vehicles: Personal commuting is a luxury that many have been able to afford, not just in western countries, but also now in multiple eastern countries, particularly busy metropolitan cities. These personal vehicles, in fact, attribute to the highest percentage of total number of vehicles on the road, at any given point in time (vehicle stats in Bangalore) Conversely, they have the least optimization in terms of seat occupation vs seat capacity, and the sheer volume of personal vehicles add to the overall traffic woes.

Commercial vehicles: Essentially these are trucks and vans catering to the logistics of businesses and are largely unavoidable. However in most cities, this class of vehicles have specific time slots to operate (Boston downtown traffic regulations.
Bangalore commercial vehicles regulations), and its highly unlikely that they contribute to traffic during peak commute times.

Among the above vehicle types, the best way to optimize vehicle traffic, likely is in the personal vehicles category. While, on an average, a personal vehicle sits idle for most part of a day (95% idle time, cars parked 95% of the time), we should not forget that the 5% of the usable time is what causes traffic jams in most cities.That is when most of the personal cars ply on the road, seemingly all at once, during peak hours.

Most of us agree that some of the ways by which traffic can be optimized include carsharing, carpooling and ride optimization of personal vehicles. I believe that the maximum impact can come in when technology can be leveraged to connect people; when commuters who are traveling alone in their cars offer rides to other commuters. So why hasn’t this picked up?

The most important factors for sharing rides or pooling in personal vehicles are safety, trust, cost worthiness and flexibility. If these 4 factors are taken care of, we will truly achieve a utopian model of ridesharing economy!

Nikhil Rai

Disclaimer:These are only author’s thoughts and are in no way intended to advise or counter any technology companies’ strategies

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