In the early days ride-hailing companies promoted the notion that their technology would reduce congestion in major cities as customers would choose pooling rides together rather than take trips travelling single. Other benefits touted included reduced traffic meant reduced greenhouse gas emission.
Research published in the Wall Street Journal indicate otherwise.
“Most users take their own private Lyfts and Ubers, shunning pooling even though it costs them more. Rather than the apps becoming a model of algorithm-driven efficiency, drivers in major cities cruise for fares without passengers an estimated 40% of the time”.
“Multiple studies show that Uber and Lyft have pulled people away from buses, subways and walking, and that the apps add to the overall amount of driving in the U.S.”
When you think something is plausible even beneficial, you can always error on the side of consumerism where me before we still is the standard – albeit gladly this is changing. I wonder if in most critical decision-making meetings, has someone on the whiteboard written a heading “Unintended Consequences”.
The WSJ frames unintended consequences this way:
“Facebook Inc. set out to help connect people with each other, but also contributed to the spread of division and disinformation. E-cigarette company Juul Labs Inc. said it could reduce cigarette smoking, but fueled a crisis of teen vaping. Encrypted messaging apps designed to foster online privacy have become favorite communication tools of criminals.”