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Understanding TNCs’ Impact on Cities

Looking at the VMT Efficiency Metric

Thank you for visiting RMI Outlet. Since originally publishing a blog post on the topic of transportation network companies (TNCs) and their impacts on cities, we have received valuable feedback that we represented certain conclusions as definitive, when in fact they are not.

A careful evaluation of the analysis and available data has led to the conclusion that the current range of uncertainty precludes being able to render an absolute answer regarding the relative impact of TNCs compared with personally owned vehicles. There is uncertainty in much of the data, but the data that most strongly influences the result includes:

  • The load factor in a standard (i.e., non-pooled) TNC trip
  • The load factor in the personal vehicle trips being replaced
  • Deadheading associated with personal vehicles (i.e., picking up or dropping off someone)

As we move forward into unchartered territory, RMI is committed more than ever to work diligently and collaboratively with public- and private-sector stakeholders—and the citizens and customers they serve—to bring accuracy and transparency not only to the TNC efficiency issue, but also to all factors around “new mobility” that will lead us to a cleaner, safer, healthier, and more beneficial mobility system for all citizens, in cities designed for people—not just for cars.

We would like to point you to the Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, for which RMI is a founding signatory and ardent supporter. These “principles” define a powerful framework for urban decision makers, private-sector participants, and citizens to help achieve safe, efficient, and low-carbon movement of people and goods while ensuring equal access and quality of life for all.