Ride Sharing Congestion

Ridesharing Causes Congestion

Rapidly growing ride-sharing fleets cause more traffic congestion than they save. City centres are becoming increasingly clogged with ride-sharing vehicles, due to their low cost and convenience. People adopt ridesharing more now than public transport, due to their low-cost convenience. Delivery vehicles are also increasing rapidly, as online shopping becomes the norm. A smaller factor is the natural increase in the city population over time.

While some may doubt, most agree we are on the cusp of realising self-driving vehicles. Many expect these to begin being available within a year or two. Reports advise the floodgates will open as there is a massive shift to driverless fleets. Tesla for example has lease agreements that prohibit the lease owner from buying the car at the end of the lease. Tesla still sells cars, but is reserving the right to retain their entire lease fleet, as they have indicated driverless ride-sharing is far more valuable than sales of cars outright.

Increased Congestion and Pollution Levels

The impact of driverless ride-sharing vehicles has an ominous, looming impact on traffic congestion. With no driver’s wage to pay for, the cost of a driverless rideshare vehicle will be a fraction of current costs. Some estimates put the driver’s wage as 80% of the cost of the transport, meaning we could see ridesharing costs plummet to less than a third of current costs.

The seismic collapse of ridesharing costs will almost overnight result in a massive increase in demand for such services. There is a strong incentive for self-driving vehicles to be on the road 24/7, as the cost to run these electric vehicles without a driver is just pennies to the owner. Sadly, the cost to the city is not pennies. In London, the current cost of traffic congestion is now £8 billion per annum (USD $10 Billion). With self-driving ride-sharing vehicles pouring into the network as fast as they can be built, this figure will sharply increase.

This increase in driverless ride-sharing vehicles will simultaneously also have a very negative impact on the environment. Unfortunately, the replacement will not be one-to-one. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates for the USA that a "typical ride-hailing trip is about 69 percent more polluting than the trips it replaces."