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The enduring allure of private vehicles

Uber’s recent investor day presentation (link here) is interesting if you’re an investor or thinking about becoming an investor, but it’s also interesting from an urbanism standpoint. Part of the promise of Uber was that it was going to help lure people away from owning cars. Looking at the data though (see below), ridesharing penetration is still pretty low in even Uber’s largest markets: 3.9% for the US and 3.3% for Canada. Brazil is a leader here, which you might think is because of a lower cost per mile, but Australia isn’t far behind.

At the end of the day, the vast majority of mobility trips are still being done through personal vehicles. This is certainly the case in the US with 6.6 billion weekly trips in personal vehicles versus 191 million on public transit and 22.6 million with UberX (all 2019 data). And for those taking Ubers, about 90% of riders are using some form of UberX — that being a solo, on-demand, point-to-point trip with a 4-door car. So sharing a car with strangers and using different/multiple modes of transport hasn’t really caught on here.

1 Comment so far

  1. Salim Ben Mansour

    Interesting stats Brandon.
    I guess car ownership is as resilient as home ownership in North America (vs Europe).
    Maybe the pandemic has had an impact as well (fear of virus and increased violence in transit in Toronto).

    Myself, like many others, switched to WFH during the pandemic, which led me to downsize to one vehicle (from 2). If I didn’t have kids, I probably wouldn’t own a car at all (walking score is 90+ where I live). I was surprised to see many people around me buy brand new vehicles during the pandemic despite WFH (brand new car sitting in the driveway/street parked doing nothing), says a lot about the prevalence of car culture in Canada.

    Liked by 1 person

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