Weekly Distribution of Transit Scheduled Trips and Uber Pickups, Los Angeles

Weekly Distribution of Transit Scheduled Trips and Uber Pickups, Los Angeles

Source: LA Metro, General Transit Feed Specification GTFS Data. Note: Data is normalized and volumes are not comparable.

There are complex relationships between conventional public transit systems and emerging on-demand ride-sharing services in terms of demand patterns. Ridership for the transit system is reflective of commuting patterns with demand peaks in the morning and afternoon that have the same pattern for each workday. During the weekend, ridership drops and peak hours are no longer present.

Ride-sharing services (here represented as Uber pickups) have a relatively different trip demand behavior. During weekdays, they do have a concordance with peak hours, implying that such services are used for commuting, but with a lagging effect. The major difference becomes evident as the week progresses with ride-sharing ridership increasing in the evening (e.g. on Thursdays and Fridays). Saturday evening represents the weekly peak ridership. Therefore, ride-sharing services ridership patterns appear more related to social activities than work-based activities. The main factor is that social activities are more spatially diffused, taking place outside peak hours and less cost-sensitive than commuting.

Ride-sharing services are both competing and complementary to public transit. They have been particularly disruptive for the taxi industry since they compete over similar mobility patterns. Several large metropolitan areas are implementing strategies to integrate ride-sharing services with public transit, particularly in suburban areas where they can complement mobility and feed public transit (e.g. rail) stations from nearby low-density residential areas. It remains to be seen which mobility pattern ride-sharing services are going to service and how they will fit within urban transport planning strategies.