Also: Visualizing the hidden logic of cities, and a test for London’s “night czar.”
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What We’re Following
Capping crunch: A growing body of transportation research has concluded that ride-hailing services are driving up traffic congestion in several American cities. It looks like New York City might actually try to do something about it. The city council is considering legislation that would set a cap on the number of vehicles driving for Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing companies to address their rapid growth. The city would stop issuing new for-hire vehicle licenses (except for vehicles that are wheelchair accessible) while the city conducts a year-long study of the industry, according to the New York Times. “The legislation being considered by the City Council would make New York the first major American city to set a limit on ride-hailing vehicles,” the Times reports.
Meanwhile, transit geeks are still debating the latest research from transportation consultant Bruce Schaller, whose work explores the role of ride-hailing in urban traffic congestion. Robin Chase, the founder of Zipcar, argues that the real problem isn’t too many Ubers and Lyfts—it’s every vehicle on city streets, and the fact that cities continue to incentivize their use over walking, biking, or transit.
While Schaller’s research shows that ride-hailing is substituting trips for walking, biking, and transit, Chase maintains that we’re still in the earliest stages of a shift away from private vehicles, which account for the overwhelming majority of miles traveled and trips taken in U.S. cities (even those where rail transport is an option, as shown above). Her advice: “Make walking, biking, and all shared modes of transit better and more attractive than driving alone.”
Read her perspective on CityLab: Don’t Blame Ride-Hailing for Traffic Congestion
- Also on CityLab: Sam Adams, the former mayor of Portland, argues that cities shouldn’t enact a “lazy” tax on ride-hailing. Instead, he offers six factors to consider for a smarter tax.
More on CityLab
What We’re Reading
The terrible consequences of Chicago’s ticketing policies (ProPublica)
Different U.S. political maps tell different versions of the truth (Wired)
How “health districts” can help urban planners can promote wellness (Curbed)
London sets out to eliminate traffic deaths by 2041 (Streetsblog)