Taxis and Emerging Mobility Services
Regulation and Policy
The Growth of App-Based Ride Services and Traffic, Travel and the
Future of New York City
Over the last four years, Uber, Lyft and other app-based ride services have put 50,000 vehicles on the streets of New York City. Customers embraced these new services as
offering a prompt, reliable and affordable option for traveling around town. Their growth also raises questions about their impact on traffic congestion and on
public transit and taxi services that are essential components of urban transportation networks.
A dearth of factual information has made it difficult, however, to assess their role in the city's transportation network or
decide whether a public policy is needed.
This report presents a detailed analysis of the growth of app-based ride services in New York City, their impacts on traffic, travel patterns and vehicle mileage, and implications
for achieving critical City goals for mobility, economic growth and environmental sustainability in New York and other major cities.
Findings are based on trip and mileage data that are uniquely available in New York City, providing the most detailed and comprehensive assessment of these new services in any U.S. city.
(Released February 27, 2017)
A Blueprint for Uber, Lyft and Taxi Regulation
With big-state legislatures stymied over how to regulation Uber and Lyft, this report
summarizes the debate on each of five key issues, assesses the arguments put forth by the various stakeholders, and makes
recommendations designed to achieve core public policy goals of service, safety, competition and equity, while fairly balancing competing interests of companies,
drivers, customers and cities themselves.
The report can help guide elected officials and the public to ensure that legislation works to improve access for all customers,
leads to fair treatment of drivers and creates a competitive landscape for Uber, Lyft, taxis, new app-based services hitting the roads,
and potential new entrants like Google. Decisions being made now lay the groundwork for the much-anticipated adoption of self-driving vehicles. (Released Sept. 2016)
Private Mobility, Public Interest
How public agencies can work with emerging mobility service providers
This report outlines how government agencies can more effectively incorporate popular on-demand services like Uber and bikesharing to improve service for
transit customers while also addressing some of the transit industries' biggest challenges. The report highlights strategies agencies can use right now to
work with emerging mobility providers like ZipCar, Car2Go, bikeshare providers, and on-demand transit providers like Bridj or Via.
This report was prepared for the Transit Center, a foundation dedicated to improving urban mobility. Bruce Schaller is a co-author of the report.
Between Public and Private
Examining the Rise of Technology-Enabled Transportation Services
A report from the Transportation Research Board (TRB), the largest unit of the
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, discusses in detail regulatory and policy issues
raised by the rapid growth of Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft and
other innovative shared mobility services including carsharing, bikesharing and microtransit.
The report offers guidance to local and state elected officials and regulators on
these rapidly evolving and complex issues.
Bruce Schaller was a member of the TRB committee and co-wrote the report.
Earlier Publications on Taxi Issues
Should taxi regulators adopt "open entry"? What are the effects of open entry,
medallion caps and other types of entry control? What is the most effective approach?
This seminal paper assesses these issues based on the experiences of 43 cities in the United States and
Canada. Advantages and disadvantages of regulatory approaches ranging from deregulation to
strict medallion caps are analyzed, and
seven specific implications for entry control are discussed. Published in Transport Policy, the report has
important lessons for today's debates over regulation of Uber and Lyft, and how to fashion a level playing field for fair
competition with taxis. (2007)
This article discusses eight
elements that characterize well functioning taxi systems.
Cab operators and regulators can use these elements as reference points in
thinking about how to improve the regulatory system and industry structure
in their city -- and thus keep taxi issues out of the political kettle. (2005)
Twelve percent of Americans used a taxi or limousine service in the previous month.
Who are the men and occasionally women who deliver taxi and limousine services?
What are their backgrounds, how much do they work, how much do they earn?
Based on U.S. Census data, this report shows the increase in immigrant drivers and the
predominance of men (although the number of female drivers is growing) in a wide ranging
profile of taxi and limo drivers. (2004)
In cities that control the number of taxicabs by law or regulation, setting the
number of cabs is one of the most important decisions made by taxicab regulators and
elected officials. This study identifies primary factors related to demand for
taxicab service in the United States. Published in Journal of Public
NYC Taxi and Livery Issues
Revised in March 2006, this is the "indispensable" guide to the New York City
taxicab industry, says the Financial Times of London. Information on taxi ridership, trip purposes, fares, customer satisfaction,
service availability, industry finances, driver earnings, medallion prices,
cars, accidents, driver quality, driver background and nationality,
and history and development of the NYC taxi industry.
The cab fleet is not just 13,000 individual vehicles -- it also forms
a spatial, economic, environmental and social system. This essay, written
as part of the Design Trust for Public Space's
2005 Designing the Taxi project and exhibition, assesses the current taxi system
and proposes possible systemic changes to improve service.
New York City cabbies are less crash-prone than other drivers;
as a result, passengers are less likely to be injured as a passenger
in a taxicab or livery car than as an occupant of other vehicles. The report
presents a wide-ranging analysis of NYC crash data. (2006)
This report examines data collected over the past decade to assess the
relationship between driver earnings and motor vehicle crashes involving taxicabs.
The study finds that there appears to be a strong relationship
between taxicab crash rates and driver incomes. Higher driver incomes are associated
with lower crash rates. (2004)
This published study utilizes a unique dataset from New York City to quantify
how taxi fare increases affect trip demand and the availability of taxi service,
in the first published statistically-significant estimates of taxi fare
At the end of the century, the NYC taxi industry set new records for ridership,
revenue and occupancy. At the same time, service availability neared
its lowest point in at least a decade. This report summarizes comprehensive
data on taxi ridership, availability and industry finances.
Issues in Taxi Regulation
Who drives taxicabs and why? What are their major problems? How do their
problems affect the industry and passengers? How is the taxi industry organized?
Is the famous (or infamous) taxi medallion system good or bad? What is leasing?
Why do drivers hate it? Are their complaints merited? How has leasing affected
the industry? And what can be done about the "taxi mess"?
This 3-part series of papers examines these questions and evaluates a range
of policy solutions. Published in the journal Transportation Quarterly,
Fall 1995, Winter 1996 and Spring 1996.