Ride-Hailing Trips Might Be the Cause Behind an Increase in Motorists and Pedestrian Crashes

Scientists have discovered the fact that ride-hailing trips enhance the number of crashes at pick-up and drop-off places, and have implied that decision-makers should use the results in this research in order to implement further safety structure.

Ride-hailing trips, such as those provided by Uber and Lyft, allegedly increase the number of crashes for drivers and pedestrians at pick-up and drop-off locations, as per a new paper written by scientists at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

There’s a Link Between Ride-Hailing and Accidents

The study, funded by a permit from the National Center for Injury Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, is the first to use the information for individual ride-hailing trips, instead than comparing cities in which ride-hailing is available to whose where it is not.

Motor vehicle crashes are among the top causes of death all over the world, and every year about 1.3 million people die on such accidents. In the United States alone, 33,654 were killed in 2018, and 2.3 million people were injured, the study says.

A number of researches have found that alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes decline when ride-hailing trips are available, but there was no change in the general number of crashes. The team of researchers from Columbia Mailman School, together with partners from Oxford University in the United Kingdom, employed data for 372 million ride-hail trips in New York for 2017 and 2018.

They discovered regions in the city where a motor vehicle crash took place, and then measured the number of ride-hailing trips that originated close by at the time of the accident. They then compared this to the number of ride-hailing trips that left from the same location one week before the crash and a week after it.

The team carried out the same process for taxis and separated accidents as per the people who were injured-motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.

This Data Can be Used to Prevent Crashes

The results of the study reported that increases in ride-hailing were associated with the rise in crashes in which drivers and pedestrians were injured. The team did not find any link for cyclists crashes or for taxi trips, though.

“Ridesharing is changing the way we move around cities,” said Christopher Morrison, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School, and first author on the study. “It is becoming clear that the technology reduces alcohol-related crashes, but these benefits do not seem to extend to the overall number of crashes. These findings help explain why that might be – because the reductions in alcohol-related crashes are off-set by increases in other types of crashes.”

The authors of the research suggested that cities and ride-hailing agencies can use this data to help prevent accidents.

“There are so many rideshare trips every day in our cities, even tiny changes in risks can have a big impact on the total number of injuries,” explained Morrison. “In congested areas with large numbers of rideshare pick-ups and drop-offs, cities could consider installing taxi-rank style infrastructure to protect pedestrians and prevent crashes.”

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