Research Team: Anne Brown (lead), Evelyn Blumenberg, Martin Wachs, and Brian Taylor
UC Campus(es): UCLA
Problem Statement: Low-income travelers make fewer and shorter trips on any mode compared to other travelers. As a result, they face restricted access to jobs, education, childcare, and other livelihood activities and opportunities. Today, rideshare companies like Lyft, Uber, and Bridj can provide a much-needed boost to low-income mobility by providing point-to-point travel without the high costs of car ownership. It remains unknown, however, to what extent such services are used by low-income travelers and what effect they have had on low-income travelers’ mobility. As a result, it is also unknown what framework or policies might be necessary for ensuring their equitable access to this new mode of transportation.
Project Description: This research investigates how low-income travelers use ridesharing, how well rideshare companies serve low-income neighborhoods, and how ridesharing fits within the mobility options available to low-income travelers. This research answers the following research questions: 1) What are the socioeconomic characteristics of rideshare users and what proportion are low-income? 2) How do ridesharing trips made by low-income people differ from those of higher incomes in terms of trip frequency, distance, cost, time of day, and purpose? 3) How do trips that originate in lower-income neighborhoods compare with those originating in other neighborhoods in terms of trip frequencies, distance traveled, and cost? and 4) What type of mobility option is ridesharing for low-income rideshare users and rideshare users in low-income neighborhoods and how does it compare with other options available to both groups?