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Study: Ride-sharing apps add to growing gridlock problems

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Posted at 8:25 PM, May 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-11 21:25:43-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A new study claims ride-share apps, like Uber and Lyft, contribute to increasing traffic issues in major cities.

The study, performed by researchers from the University of Kentucky along with experts from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, looked at traffic in San Francisco and the role ride-sharing apps played in growing issues with congestion.

"We found that between 2010 and 2016, traffic congestion, which we measured according to vehicle hours delay, or how much extra time it takes to get where I need to go, went up by 62 percent in San Francisco, about two-thirds of that increase is attributable to the entry of Uber and Lyft in that area," University of Kentucky Assistant Professor Greg Erhardt said. Erhardt co-authored the study, which was published in Science Advances. "The fact that it's changed on that scale on a short amount of time is quite remarkable"

Erhardt told NewsChannel 5 the added delays were due to apps putting more cars on the streets.

"Two out of every three...Ubers or Lyfts on the road are new cars on the road that otherwise would not have been there," Erhardt said.

Erhardt said he was no stranger to Nashville's traffic jams.

"I don't envy you guys in Nashville," he said with a laugh.

The study was limited to San Francisco, and there are concerns about how well it translates to other cities, but Erhardt said there are lessons Nashville can take from the data; especially when it comes to future transit initiatives.

"One of the arguments...was we don't need transit because we have Uber and Lyft, and I think that is the wrong argument to make," Erhardt said.