Trends in taxi use and the advent of ridehailing, 1995–2017: evidence from the US National Household Travel Survey


The advent of ridehailing services such as Uber and Lyft has expanded for-hire vehicle travel. We use data from the 2017 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) to investigate the extent of this expansion in the United States. We report changes in the for-hire vehicle market since ridehailing services became available and statistically estimate the determinants of ridehailing use. From 2009–2017, the for-hire vehicle market share doubled. While for-hire vehicles still only account for 0.5% of all trips, the percent of all Americans who use ridehailing in any given month is nearly 10%. Within the for-hire vehicle market, this trend of growth has not been uniformly distributed across demographic groups or geographies; it has been greater in mid-sized and large cities, and among younger individuals and wealthier households. This suggests that understanding the equity implications of ridehailing is an important avenue for research. Multivariate analysis provides evidence that both transit and nonmotorized transport use are correlated with ridehailing use, that ridehailing has a negative relationship with vehicle ownership, and that residents of denser areas have higher ridehailing use. Given the rapid growth of ridehailing, it has become important for cities to include for-hire vehicles in their planning going forward. These NHTS data provide a starting point, but more detailed and frequent data collection is needed to fully understand this many-faceted, rapidly-changing market.

Urban Science
Matthew Wigginton Conway
Matthew Wigginton Conway
PhD Candidate in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University

I am PhD Candidate in Geography at Arizona State University, where I research how zoning codes influence transport outcomes.