Why Traffic Is Getting Worse

Grind for August 11th
“The simple act of opening a bottle of wine has brought more happiness to the human race than all the collective governments in the history of Earth.”
– Jim Harrison

Its A Fact

The Headline

There’s no doubt about it: ride hailing-services are making traffic worse

The Grind

A new study funded by Uber and Lyft has confirmed that ridesharing apps (also called TNCs) are making traffic worse.

While personal vehicles far outnumber ridesharing trips, Uber and Lyft still account for a sizable chunk of traffic both inside and outside metropolitan areas. According to the study, Uber and Lyft vehicles are responsible for up to 14% of the traffic in dense city centers and up to 3% of traffic in the surrounding areas.

To determine these percentages, analysts at Fehr & Peers
subtracted Uber and Lyft’s combined vehicle miles traveled (VMT) from the total VMT in six major cities.

In San Francisco, ridesharing accounted for 13.4% of all VMT. In Washington, DC, it was 7.2%.

Additionally, nearly one-third of all VMT by Uber and Lyft were without any passengers in the vehicle.

Ironically, these numbers are as much as 50% higher than estimates in studies that Uber and Lyft were hoping to disprove.

The Details

Uber and Lyft tried to put a positive spin on the study results by focusing on the percentages:

“The research shows that despite tremendous growth over the past decade, TNC use still pales in comparison to all other traffic,” said Uber executive Chris Pangilinan. “And although TNCs are likely contributing to an increase in congestion, its scale is dwarfed by that of private cars and commercial traffic.”

As critics point out, it is not the number of private cars on the road that matters here – it is the number of vehicles and miles added by TNCs.

“As Uber and Lyft add to city traffic, lose billions, and undermine transit, we need to ask ourselves what transportation problems they solve,” tweeted Janette Sadik-Khan, former New York City transportation commissioner. “New data from TNCs show that they are convenient cabs, not the transportation revolution they promised.”

Not So Fast

The Headline

President Trump sues State of California over tax return law

The Grind

President Donald Trump and the Republican Party are suing California over a new law that requires presidential candidates to file tax returns in order to participate in the primaries.

Plaintiffs insist the law is unconstitutional in that it adds a new requirement to run for president that is not outlined in the US Constitution.

The Details

The lawsuit is one of more than 40 legal fights between the Trump Administration and California on issues ranging from immigration to environmental regulation.

Members of the RNC described the law as a “naked political attack against the sitting president of the United States” that would “directly impede” Trump’s chances of earning the Republican nomination in 2020.

Trump is the first president since Gerald Ford (1976) to keep his tax returns private.

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