Tim Day
Former Senior Vice President, Chamber Technology Engagement Center


November 29, 2017


Originally posted here: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/americans-embrace-a-shared-ride-future/article/2641743

Americans embrace a shared-ride future

by Tim Day | Nov 29, 2017, 12:01 AM

Just a few short years ago, ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber launched in cities across the country with the lofty goals of expanding transportation access, filling empty seats in cars on the road, and reducing traffic congestion and household transportation expenses by empowering Americans to share our rides.

Recent independent research indicates voters have good reasons to be optimistic about ride-sharing. Studies from the American Public Transportation Association, University of Minnesota, and Arizona State University have found that ride-sharing increases access to transportation; reduces single occupant vehicles; combats congestion; and reshapes long-held assumptions around personal vehicle ownership. While agreeable in theory, it was a major gamble whether America would come along for the ride.

Now, new polling from Morning Consult confirms that American voters are embracing ride-sharing in concept and practice. Voters believe ride-sharing reduces single occupant vehicles on the road and encourages a car-light lifestyle. Most surveyed even said they urge their elected officials to support pro-ride-sharing policies by a 34-point margin (49 percent support vs. 15 percent oppose).

The results from the poll shows a majority of voters across all demographic groups hold favorable views of ride-sharing (54 percent favorable vs. 21 percent unfavorable) and predict these services will increase in popularity over the next decade.

Nearly three out of four voters (73 percent) say they are concerned about traffic and road congestion. A majority of voters (62 percent) also say ridesharing services improve traffic and road congestion by reducing single-occupant vehicles on the road. Additionally, 57 percent of voters say that ride-sharing services have a positive effect on carpooling, which reduces single-vehicle occupancy, improves road congestion, and decreases emissions.

The benefits of ride-sharing are not limited to transportation issues, either.

Ride-sharing services are a part of the new digital economy which is transforming and growing the economy as a whole. These innovations are helping businesses, workers, and consumers. Research suggests that the on-demand economy will grow from $14 billion in 2014 to $335 billion in 2025. According to a study by the Brookings Institution, this growth will not come at the cost of existing businesses; instead, companies, like Lyft and Airbnb, are meeting unmet demand or creating new customers.

The new economy helps workers as well. The vast majority of workers join the field because they like the financial stability and schedule flexibility. And for those looking for employment, it offers a way to generate earnings with a fairly low barrier to entry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in the on-demand economy make, on average, $34 an hour, $8 higher than the hourly rate of an average payroll worker ($26).

It’s clear that the majority of American voters value rideshare services like Lyft and Uber for a wide variety of reasons, not least of which is helping to unclog our busy roadways. Coupled with the economic benefits, these innovative companies are solving problems for consumers, workers, and job creators across the country.

Tim Day is senior vice president of Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC), the tech policy hub of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

About the authors

Tim Day

Tim Day is the former senior vice president of C_TEC (Chamber Technology Engagement Center) at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.