United Kingdom

Study links ride-hailing trips by Uber and Lyft to greater risk of vehicle and pedestrian accidents

The billions of rides now facilitated by ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft may exacerbate safety risks for motorists and pedestrians according to a new study.

In a study from researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, experts collected data from 370 million rides taken by Uber and Lyft in New York City between 2017 to 2018.

Specifically, the researchers studied 'taxi zones' which are areas defined by the city to approximate neighborhoods and determine roughly where a passenger was picked up and where they were dropped off.

Lyft and Uber may be exacerbating the risk of accidents in urban areas according to a study that assessed 370 million rides in New York City (stock)

They then combined that data with the amount of traffic or pedestrian crashes in those zones. 

What they found was that for each 100 ride-share rides taken in the zone every hour, the risk of observing a pedestrian or vehicle-related crash at drop-off or pickup spots increased by 4.6 percent.  

The researchers controlled the study by assessing regular taxi data and found no correlation between higher frequency of taxi use and increased number crashes. 

Part of that discrepancy according to researchers could be naked into how ride-hailing apps operate.

Users, not cities or other planning agencies, are responsible for setting up pick-up locations which may increase the likelihood that a ride is starting or ending at a dangerous location.

Uber and Lyft rides have also risen sharply throughout the last 10 years and in some cases have flooded city streets with vehicles (stock)

Additionally, ride-hailing trips have greatly increased throughout the past 10 years, exploding in cities like New York and San Francisco, the latter of which saw a 60 percent rise in the amount of trips between 2010 and 2016.

Researchers suggest setting more stringent boundaries on where ride-hailing trips can originate, similar to how taxis have operated.

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