To Pool or Not to Pool? Understanding the Time and Price Tradeoffs of OnDemand Ride Users – Opportunities, Challenges, and Social Equity Considerations for Policies to Promote Shared-Ride Services

Research Team: Susan Shaheen (lead), Jessica Lazarus, Juan Caicedo, and Alexandre Bayen

UC Campus(es): UC Berkeley

Problem Statement: In recent years, economic, environmental, and social forces have quickly given rise to the “sharing economy,” a collective of entrepreneurs and consumers leveraging technology to share resources, save money, and generate capital. These shared mobility services may offer solutions to the broader challenges related to managing the growth and emissions of the transportation sector, as well as the growing stress on transportation infrastructure due to congestion by encouraging more ridesourcing/Transportation Network Company (TNC) vehicles to give shared (or pooled) rides. To prepare for the future, it is important to gain a robust understanding of different factors that influence the travel decisions of people toward shared mobility services, particularly pooling vs. non-pooled ridesourcing/TNCs. Understanding the tradeoffs of different travel options and the role of incentives/disincentives among travelers is important to frame policy decisions and potentially employ shared mobility services as an effective way to encourage pooling and reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

Project Description: This research employs a general population stated preference survey of four California metropolitan regions (Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, and the San Francisco Bay Area) in Fall 2018 to examine the opportunities and challenges for drastically expanding the market for pooling, accounting for differences in emergent travel behavior and preferences across the four metropolitan regions surveyed. The travel profiles, TNC use patterns, and attitudes and perceptions of TNCs and pooling are analyzed across key socio-demographic attributes to enrich behavioral understanding of marginalized and price sensitive users of on-demand ride services. This research further develops a discrete choice model to identify significant factors influencing a TNC user’s choice to pool or not to pool, as well as estimating a traveler’s value of time (VOT) across different portions of a TNC trip. This research provides key insights and social equity considerations for policies that could be employed to reduce vehicle miles traveled and emissions from passenger road transportation by incentivizing the use of pooled on-demand ride services and public transit

Status: Completed

Budget: $80,000

Project Partner(s): Governors Office of Planning and Research, Caltrans Division of Transportation Planning

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