Uber, Lyft blamed for worsening traffic by researchers

May 14, 2019 GMT

Ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft have significantly contributed to roads around San Francisco becoming more congested, researchers wrote in a recent report.

Published in the journal Science Advances, the report was conducted by researchers at the University of Kentucky and San Francisco County Transportation Authority to see what effect Uber, Lyft and other “transportation network companies,” or TNCs, have had on the city’s famously bad traffic.

By conducting tests on data collected in 2010 and 2016, the researchers concluded that the time drivers spent stuck in traffic in San Francisco surged over the years by 62 percent, and that TNCs were directly responsible for more than half of that increase.


Traffic delays would have only increased by 22 percent between 2010 and 2016 TNCs, the researchers found.

“These results lead us to conclude that transportation network companies are the biggest factor driving the rapid growth of congestion and deterioration of travel time reliability in San Francisco,” the researchers wrote. “These findings are of interest to transportation planners, to policymakers and to the general public in San Francisco and other large cities.”

Uber and Lyft both voiced concerns with the report following its release, The Verge reported.

Uber said in a statement that that “studies disagree on causes for congestion,” while Lyft said it “overlooks notable contributors to congestion including increased freight and commercial deliveries, and tourism growth,” the website reported.

The report was released prior to Uber’s debut on the New York Stock Exchange, where the company’s initial public offering Friday was quickly followed by losing billions of dollars from its market value.