Causal Mediation Effects of Public Transit Ridership on the Relationship Between Ridesharing Platforms and Traffic Congestion: An Empirical Investigation of UberX in the United States

24 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2020 Last revised: 21 Jul 2020

See all articles by Ecem Basak

Ecem Basak

University of Illinois at Chicago - College of Business Administration

Mary Beth Watson-Manheim

University of Illinois at Chicago

Ali R. Tafti

University of Illinois at Chicago

Date Written: February 13, 2020

Abstract

Despite the multiple prior studies examining the consequences of ridesharing platforms on traffic congestion, we still have limited understanding of causal relationships underlying this outcome. Using data collected from 48 metropolitan areas in the United States, we report the results of a causal mediation analysis investigating the role of city bus ridership, which is thought to lie in the causal path between the introduction of UberX and traffic congestion. Our results suggest that these platforms do increase congestion, but only 5% of the increased traffic congestion can be explained by a decrease in city bus ridership caused by these services. This implies that Uber has other effects independent of bus ridership, such as service cars roaming the streets, that would account for a much larger portion of Uber’s detrimental effect on traffic congestion.

Keywords: On-Demand Ride-Sharing Services, Traffic Congestion, Public Transit Ridership, Causal Mediation Analysis, Potential Outcome Framework

Suggested Citation

Basak, Ecem and Watson-Manheim, Mary Beth and Tafti, Ali R., Causal Mediation Effects of Public Transit Ridership on the Relationship Between Ridesharing Platforms and Traffic Congestion: An Empirical Investigation of UberX in the United States (February 13, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3544999 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3544999

Ecem Basak (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Chicago - College of Business Administration ( email )

601 South Morgan Street
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

Mary Beth Watson-Manheim

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

Ali R. Tafti

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

601 S Morgan St, 2403 University Hall, MC 294
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

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