Parking, ride-hailing, and shifting traveler needs

By Chris McCahill

According to a new study out of Denver, one-quarter of ride-hailing trips replace driving, which reduces the need for parking, particularly at specific land uses. Difficulty parking is also a key reason people are shifting to ride-hailing services, which suggests that places where parking is most difficult or expensive can expect a shift in demand to curbside pickup and drop off.

The study’s lead author, Alejandro Henao—also known for measuring the traffic impacts of ride-hailing services—became a driver for Uber and Lyft over a 14-week period in 2016, while collecting trip data and survey responses from 311 passengers. For this newest study, his team estimates that 26 percent of passengers would have needed a parking space if not for ride-hailing. Those passengers most frequently visited restaurants and bars, event venues, and airports in addition to commuting to and from downtown Denver. Moreover, about one-third of passengers said they were driving less because of ride-hailing.

Figure 1. Flows of ride-hailing trips that replaced driving, colored by starting location. Source: Henao & Marshall in Journal of Transport and Land Use.

While the study doesn’t point entirely to the potential magnitude of these impacts, at least one major parking provider has reported valet parking use dropping by 25 to 50 percent at restaurants and nightclubs, respectively.

The study also found that ride-hailing is more likely to replace driving for certain kinds of trips—for instance, trips in suburban locations or trips among those age 35 and older in urban locations. Interestingly, it found that the stress of parking—measured in terms of availability, time, and cost—is the second most common reason people turn to ride-hailing and it is a major consideration in one-third of all trips.

Chris McCahill is the Deputy Director at SSTI.