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80% of New York’s 150 million taxi trips could be shared

I’ve been a big fan of MIT’s Senseable City Lab since I was a grad student at Penn. Their work sits at the intersection of cities and technology, and so I’ve always found it incredibly fascinating.

Recently, the lab examined data from all of New York’s 13,586 registered cabs and looked for ways that technology and mobile tech could potentially optimize the way the system works today. In particular, they were interested in examining instances where people were heading to the same place at the same time, and were within no more than a 3 minute walk of each at the start of the trip.

What they found was that, of the 150 million taxi rides taken in New York City during 2011, almost 80% of them could have been shared.

That is, 80% of the time, there was an overlap in both time and route. That’s an hugely interesting stat because it starts to show just how much waste and inefficiency there currently is in the system. Think about all the trips and carbon emissions that could be potentially eliminated through optimization.

Here’s a video they produced on the project. Click here if you can’t see it below.

It’s a great example of how technology is and will continue to creep into every segment of the economy. It’s exactly what I was talking about in my post, “Disrupting everything.”

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