Research Team: Adam Millard-Ball (lead), Liwei Liu, Drew Cooper, and Joe Castiglione
UC Campus(es): UC Santa Cruz, UCLA
Problem Statement: Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) have the potential to improve mobility and reduce parking demand. However, recent research has highlighted the additional vehicle travel and congestion generated by TNCs. The behavior of TNC drivers when out of service (i.e. between paid trips) has received little attention. Out-of-service TNC trips, however, generate vehicle travel through repositioning and cruising when in motion, and occupy curb and parking spaces. While cruising for parking and cruising by taxis have been extensively researched, there is little data to assess the extent of cruising by TNCs.
Project Description: The research team analyzed what ridehail drivers do when out of service between paid trips. The investigators used a dataset of 5.3 million trips in San Francisco and partition each out of service trip into cruising, repositioning, and parking segments. The research team found that repositioning accounts for nearly two-thirds (63%) of the time between trips, with cruising and parking accounting for 23% and 14% respectively (these figures exclude short trips). Regression models suggest that drivers tend to make reasonable choices between repositioning and parking, heading to high-demand locations based on the time of day. However, the researchers also found suggestive evidence of racial bias, supporting previous studies of both taxis and ridehailing that indicate that drivers tend to avoid neighborhoods with high proportions of residents of color.