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

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Visualizing the Hidden ‘Logic’ of Cities

Some cities’ roads follow regimented grids. Others twist and turn. See it all on one chart.

David Montgomery

What’s a ‘Night Czar’ To Do?

Last year, London appointed a chief advocate for a 24-hour city. Now a major nightlife hub plans to impose a curfew, and opponents want to know why she won’t do more to stop it.

Feargus O'Sullivan

The American Heroes of St. Louis’s Gateway Arch

Monument to the Dream gives the construction workers behind an American design icon their proper due.

Mark Byrnes

How Alaska’s Elderly Get Their Seal Oil

In America’s northernmost nursing home, residents can still eat the traditional wild foods they grew up on, thanks to a program that links local hunters with long-term care facilities.

Charlee Catherine Dyroff

Getting a Bird’s Eye View of the World’s Subway Systems

Online artists are tracing transit lines onto aerial photos, offering a new way to visualize an often hidden mode of transit.

David Montgomery



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)


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