ASU Study Shows Increases in Lyft and Uber Ride-Hailing Services


TED: GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO "ARIZONA HORIZON." I'M TED SIMONS. THE BATTLE FOR ARIZONA'S OPEN U.S. SENATE SEAT IS HEATING UP WITH REPUBLICAN MARTHA McSALLY AND DEMOCRAT KYRSTEN SINEMA NOW FOCUSED ON THE GENERAL ELECTION AND EACH OTHER. AND A NEW STATEWIDE POLL FROM DATA ORBITAL SHOWS THAT IT’S A TIGHT RACE. THE SURVEY OF 550 LIKELY VOTERS WAS TAKEN EARLIER THIS MONTH, IT SHOWS SINEMA IN THE LEAD WITH JUST OVER 46%, TO MARTHA McSALLY’S 41%-CLOSER TO 42 THERE-WITH 8% OF VOTERS STILL UNDECIDED. AN ASU STUDY ON RIDE-SHARING SERVICES LOOKS AT THE GROWTH OF THE INDUSTRY, AND HOW THAT GROWTH IS AN INCREASING CONCERN REGARDING CITY REVENUES. HERE TO TELL US MORE ABOUT THE RESEARCH IS THE STUDY’S LEAD AUTHOR, ASU PHD. STUDENT MATTHEW WIGGINTON CONWAY AND DEBORAH SALON, FROM ASU'S SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHICAL SCIENCES AND URBAN PLANNING. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

GUESTS: THANK YOU.

TED: ALRIGHT LET’S DEFINE OUR TERMS HERE. RIDE-HAILING SERVICES. WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

CONWAY: SO RIDE-HAILING SERVICES-THE KIND OF CLASSIC EXAMPLES IN THE U.S. ARE UBER AND LYFT, AND THOSE ARE, I THINK REALLY THE ONLY SERVICES WE HAVE HERE IN THE PHOENIX AREA. IN SOME OTHER AREAS, THERE ARE A FEW OTHER SMALLER SERVICES THAT ARE MORE LOCAL. THEY ARE TYPICALLY VERY SIMILAR TO A TAXICAB, BUT YOU HAIL THEM WITH A SMART PHONE APP AS OPPOSED TO CALLING A NUMBER OR ON THE STREET AND THEY’RE GENERALLY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHILCES OPERATED BY THE PEOPLE WHO OWN THEM.

TED: AND THE STUDY SHOWS THERE IS NO SLOW DOWN IN THIS PARTICULAR INDUSTRY, IS THERE?

SALON: THERE IS NO SLOW DOWN, THERE IS A PICKUP.

TED: SO TO SPEAK. USE FOR THESE VEHICLES HAS DOUBLED SINCE 2009.

SALON: INDEED. WELL, THERE WEREN'T THESE VEHICLES IN 2009. AND THAT’S ACTUALLY WHAT IS SORT OF INTERESTING. IN 2009 -- IT SEEMS LIKE THEY HAVE BEEN AROUND FOREVER, RIGHT? BUT ACTUALLY IN 2009, RIDE-HAILING DIDN’T EXIST. THESE UBER AND LYFT THAT IS SO UBIQUITOUS NOW DIDN'T EXIST AT THAT POINT. SO AT THAT TIME WE WERE REALLY JUST TALKING ABOUT TAXIS. NOW WE'RE TALKING ABOUT FOR-HIRE VEHICLES BEING TAXIS, PLUS UBER AND, LYFT AND THAT’S WHERE WE SAW THE DOUBLE.

TED: SO BASICALLY IT’S NOT THE RIDE SHARING-UBER AND LYFT HAVE DOUBLED- IT'S JUST THE WHOLE USE OF THIS FORM OF TRANSPORTATION --

SALON: EXACTLY.

TED: DID THAT SURPRISE YOU AT ALL?

CONWAY: I WAS A LITTLE SURPRISED AT HOW LARGE THE NUMBERS WERE. I WAS EXPECTING TO SEE A BIG INCREASE BECAUSE RIDE HAILING HAS BECOME UBIQUITOUS, AND WE ALL KNOW SOMEBODY WHO PROBABLY TAKES RIDE HAILING AT LEAST ONCE OR TWICE, WHEREAS BEFORE MAYBE WE DIDN'T KNOW ANYBODY WHO TOOK TAXIS.

TED: STILL, 10% OF THE POPULATION USE THE SERVICES ACCORDING TO YOUR STUDY, CORRECT?

CONWAY: YEAH, IN A GIVEN MONTH ABOUT 10% OF THE U.S. ADULT POPULATION USES SPECIFICALLY RIDE-HAILING SERVICES LIKE UBER AND LYFT. AND IN PHOENIX THAT NUMBER IS ABOUT 14%.

TED: INTERSTING. BUT BEFORE WE ALL GET TOO EXCITED HERE, FIVE TENTHS OF ALL VEHICLE TRIPS- SO IT’S STILL RELATIVELY SMALL IN THE UNIVERSE OF…

SALON: ITS NOT FIVE TENTHS, IT'S .5%.

TED: OH, .5. OH I SEE.

SALON: YEAH HALF A PERCENT. SO IT'S QUITE SMALL IF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT VEHICLE TRIPS. WE WERE TALKING ABOUT BEFORE -- WE WERE THINKING WELL IT IS ACTUALLY MORE INTUITIVE OR USEFUL TO THINK OF IT AS HOW MANY PEOPLE USE RIDE HAILING ON A GIVEN DAY? AND THAT PERCENTAGE IS MORE LIKE 1%.

TED: OKAY SO WE STILL GOT A WAYS TO GO THERE. BUT THIS IS AN INCREASING USE HERE. YOUNGER FOLKS MORE LIKELY TO USE THESE?

CONWAY: CONSIDERABLY. MOST OF -- A LOT OF THE GROWTH THAT HAS OCCURRED IT IS A STARK DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUNG PEOPLE AND OLDER PEOPLE. OLDER PEOPLE- TO GROWTH HAS BEEN RELATIVELY FLAT WITH SOME GROW AND IT’S REALLY SHOT UP AMONG THOSE PEOPLE IN THE 20 TO 40-YEAR-OLD AGE BRACKET.

TED:THESE ARE PEOPLE NOT USING CABS ANYMORE, THEY ARE PEOPLE NOW USING UBER AND LYFT.

CONWAY: SO ONE OF THE ISSUES WITH OUR STUDY IS THAT THE SURVEY DATA WE USED DIDN'T ACTUALLY SEPARATE TAXIS FROM UBER AND LYFT, BUT IF WE LOOK AT THE GROWTH OVER THE LAST TEN YEARS SINCE 2009-8 YEARS- WE SEE MUCH MORE OF THAT GROWTH HAS BEEN AMONG THE YOUNGER AGE GROUP. AND WE THINK BASED ON OTHER INFORMATION THAT MOST OF THE GROWTH THAT HAS OCCURRED OVERALL HAS BEEN IN RIDE-HAILING SERVICES, BECAUSE WE HAVE SEEN ACTUALLY A DECREASE IN TAXI USE.

TED: I HEARD 14% FOR PHOENIX, RIGHT? COMPARE THAT TO WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, BOSTON, SAN FRANSICO, THOSE AREAS.

SALON: SO I DON’T REMEMBER ALL THE NUMBERS. BUT SAN FRANCISCO FOR INSTANCE IS MORE LIKE 30%.

TED; WOW.

SALON: IS THAT THE --

CONWAY: 30%, SAN FRANSICO.

TED: THE DENSER THE CITY, THE MORE OFTEN YOU SEE THIS, CORRECT?

SALON: WELL SAN FRANSICO IS A LITTLE BIT OF A SPECIAL CASE BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE IT STARTED, SO PEOPLE HAVE KIND OF GROWN USED TO IT. AND EVERYBODY USES IT. WHEREAS IN A LOT OF OTHER CITIES WHERE RIDE HAILING HAS BEEN INTRODUCED MORE RECENTLY, IT STILL HAS KIND OF A POTENTIAL TO GROW JUST BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO JUST HEAR OF IT NOW, YOU KNOW, SOME PEOPLE?

TED: BUT DOES IT HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO GROW MORE IN A MORE DENSE URBAN ENVIRONMENT?

CONWAY: WE SEE IN DENSE NEIGHBORHOODS THAT THERE IS A LOT MORE USE. AND I THINK THAT WE’RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO SEE THAT BECAUSE IN ORDER FOR THE SERVICE TO BE PROFITABLE, THERE HAVE TO BE MULTIPLE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO USE IT. YOU CAN’T SEND A CAR TO A NEIGHBORHOOD THAT JUST HAS ONE PERSON BECAUSE ONCE THEY FINISH USING IT, THEN THERE’S NOBODY ELSE TO USE IT.

TED: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR CITIES IN TERMS OF REVENUE, IN TERMS OF PARKING?

SALON: RIGHT. THAT IS A GREAT QUESTION. I THINK -- IN TERMS OF CITY REVENUE -- I MEAN -- CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG, BUT MY FEELING IS THE BIG PLACE WHERE CITIES HAVE SEEN A HIT ON THEIR REVENUE IS IN PARKING. SO ONE OF THE REASONS THAT PEOPLE CHOOSE TO USE RIDE HAILING IS IF PARKING IS EXPENSIVE. AND THEY SAY WELL, IT'S EASIER IF SOMEONE ELSE DRIVES ME, AND IF IT'S THE SAME PRICE- BECAUSE OTHERWISE I’D BE PAYING FOR PARKING- HEY I’M GOING TO TAKE RIDE-HAILING. SO CITY REVENUES FOR PUBLIC PARKING OR ON-STREET PARKING HAVE DEFINELTY GONE DOWN IN CERTAIN AREAS.

TED: ARE CITIES PREPARING FOR THIS?

CONWAY: SO I THINK SOME CITIES ARE STARTING TO THINK ABOUT THAT. BUT IT'S STILL A RELATIVELY NEW PHENOMENON IN A LOT OF PLACES. I THINK WHERE WE HAVE SEEN MORE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES THINKING ABOUT IT IS AT AIRPORTS. BECAUSE THE GROWTH IN RIDE-HAILING TRIPS TO AIRPORTS HAS BEEN EVEN LARGER THAN JUST AROUND TOWN, BECAUSE AIRPORT PARKING IS EXPENSIVE AND YOU ARE PARKING THERE FOR POTENTIALLY A WEEK OR TWO.

TED: WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORTATION PLANNING? THE WHOLE IDEA OF MASS TRANSIT IS TO GET THESE CARS OFF OF THE ROAD. WELL, THESE ARE CARS ON THE ROAD AGAIN. WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THAT?

SALON: THEY ARE CARS ON THE ROAD. THAT'S RIGHT. ONE OF THE BIG QUESTIONS, AND OUR STUDY DOESN'T REALLY ANSWER IT, ACTUALLY, BUT ONE OF THE BIG QUESTIONS IS HOW ARE PEOPLE USING RIDE HAILING EITHER TOGETHER WITH TRANSIT OR INSTEAD OF TRANSIT, OR HOW -- WHAT IS THAT RELATIONSHIP? ESPECIALLY BECAUSE -- IT'S ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR CITIES, RIGHT? BECAUSE CITIES SPEND A LOT OF MONEY AND EFFORT PROVIDING TRANSIT SERVICES --

TED: RIGHT.

SALON: -- AND THEY WOULD LIKE TO KNOW -- AND THERE HAS BEEN A DROP IN TRANSIT USE OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, AND THERE ARE A LOT OF QUESTIONS ABOUT WHERE THAT’S COMING FROM IN MANY CITIES.

TED: SEEING THE SAME THING HERE, AS FAR AS CITIES TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO PLAN FOR THIS.

CONWAY: YEAH, SO I THINK THAT IT'S CERTAINLY A CONCERN FOR A LOT OF TRANSIT AGENCIES. BUT THERE IS ALSO SOME RESEARCH THAT HAS SHOWN IT CAN BE COMPLIMENTARY. AND IN FACT OUR RESEARCH SHOWED THAT PEOPLE WHO USED TRANSIT ARE ALSO MORE LIKELY TO USE RIDE-HAILING. THAT DOESN’T NECESSARILY MEAN THAT PEOPLE AREN'T SWITCHING FROM TRANSIT TO RIDE HAILING. BUT ONE OF THE OTHER TAKEAWAYS I HAD FROM THE STUDY THAT I THOUGHT WAS REALLY SURPRISING WAS HOW MULTIMODAL USERS OF RIDE HAILING ARE. ABOUT THREE QUARTERS OF TOURS- SO TRIPS WHERE YOU LEAVE HOME, AND GO SOMEWHERE ELSE AND THEN BACK HOME- ABOUT THREE QUARTERS OF THOSE TRIPS THAT INCLUDE A FOR-HIRE VEHICLE SOMEWHERE IN THEM, ALSO INCLUDE ANOTHER MODE. THAT MIGHT BE TRANSIT, WALKING, THAT MIGHT BE SOMEBODY DROPPED YOU OFF. AND I EXPECTED THAT TO BE SIGNIFICANT, BUT I DIDN'T EXPECT IT TO BE THAT LARGE. AND JUST FOR COMPARISON- FOR CARS THAT'S ONLY ABOUT 8%, WHICH MAKES SENSE, BECAUSE IF YOU DRIVE SOMEWHERE, YOU PROBABLY DON'T WANT TO LEAVE YOUR CAR THERE AND THEN TAKE THE BUS HOME.

TED: YES. NOT A VERY GOOD IDEA. NOT EFFICIENT AT ALL. LAST QUESTION, IS THIS A SNAPSHOT -- I MEAN IS THIS SOMETHING WHERE THE NEXT TIME YOU LOOK AT THIS, THE GOAL POSTS WILL HAVE MOVED?

SALON: THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION. I MEAN ONE OF THE BIG THINGS THAT PEOPLE ARE TALKING A LOT ABOUT IS AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES THESE DAYS, RIGHT?

TED: YES.

SALON: AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT…THE RIDE-HAILING COMPANIES, PEOPLE HAVE BEEN AWARE THAT UBER, ONE OF THE MAJOR RIDE HAILING COMPANIES, ALSO HAD A MAJOR ARM OF THEIR BUSINESS THAT WAS INVESTIGATING AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE, AND ACTUALLY TESTING THEM ON THE ROADS. AND I THINK ONE OF THE -- AND THAT WOULD BE A REALLY -- COULD BE A BIG GAME CHANGER FOR THIS KIND OF SERVICE, BECAUSE THEY WOULDN'T NEED TO HAVE A DRIVER ANYMORE.

TED: YEAH. [ LAUGHTER ]

TED: I'M JUST STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO HAIL A TAXI. IT'S GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH. INTERESTING STUDY. CONGRATULATIONS ON THE STUDY AND THANK YOU BOTH FOR BEING HERE, WE APPRECIATE IT.

SALON: THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

TED: LATER ON "ARIZONA HORIZON" A DEVICE THAT COULD HELP ATHLETES WHO SUFFER FROM ANXIETY.

Researchers at Arizona State University looked at ten years of data compiled by the National Household Travel Survey to gain insight into use of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. The researchers found that use of those services has doubled in the past ten years, but that such trips still represent only a half percent of all car trips. The study also found a negative impact on city revenues from parking fees or enforcement. We get more from PhD student Matthew Wigginton Conway, the study’s lead author, and Deborah Salon, a co-author and an assistant professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at ASU.

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In this segment:

PhD student Matthew Wigginton Conway, the study's lead author
Deborah Salon, co-author and an assistant professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at ASU.

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