New expert report reveals two-tier taxi industry risks include increased congestion and vehicle emissions, while costs saving can prove elusive

TORONTO, Sept. 29, 2015 /CNW/ - An expert report analyzing the impact of bringing about a two-tier taxi industry that would include transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber reveals that an increase in the number of for-hire vehicles on Toronto's already congested road network is likely to worsen traffic congestion for all commuters and increase tailpipe emissions.

The report, titled "To Uber or Not to Uber: That is the Question," includes a number of key findings:

  • The addition of TNCs such as Uber risk increasing traffic congestion in Toronto
  • The addition of TNCs such as Uber could lead to more vehicle emission pollution and worsened air quality in Toronto
  • The addition of TNCs such as Uber has in some other jurisdictions such as New York City led to higher fares for consumers in short-distance commutes and could conceivably result in longer travel times

"Deregulation could lead to an inefficiently high number of vehicles on the road resulting in higher congestion," notes lead author Murtaza Haider, associate professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University and director of Regionomics Inc. "In empirical studies, it has been shown that the deregulation of taxis increases congestion…(and) it is possible that fare adjustments will not occur in a way that poses significant societal benefit."

Uber is advocating for regulations that would allow an unlimited number of UberX cars on Toronto's shared streets at any time. The report makes clear that allowing an unlimited number of UberX cars could worsen traffic and increase pollution with no guarantee of system-wide consumer benefits such as lower wait times and/or fares. In fact, the report points out that existing research comparing fares charged by TNCs and the regular taxi industry reveals that services such as Uber might not be cheaper all the time.

The report also points to other jurisdictions where urban transportation was deregulated and concludes that a massive influx of for-hire vehicles brought on by deregulation would contribute to worsening air quality and increased pollution in two primary ways.

First, for-hire vehicles engage in different driving patterns than the private automobiles, and contribute disproportionately to congestion pollution around arterials. Second, if for-hire vehicles substitute trips by public transit, which a recent Harris Poll commissioned by Beck revealed is occurring in Toronto, this would impact the environmental sustainability afforded by Toronto's public transit system.

"Given that congestion poses significant environmental concerns by increasing pollution around congested arterials it is imperative that measures are taken to ensure that communities along congested arterials do not suffer additional adverse health impacts resulting from an increase in congestion brought about by a larger taxicab fleet," writes Haider.

The 23-page report was commissioned by Beck Taxi and written by leading experts in the field of transportation and transit, including Professor Haider, who earlier provided advice on the future of the Gardiner Expressway, notes that the effective government regulation of the taxi industry is required to reduce overall congestion and protect communities from increased air pollution.

About the Authors:

Murtaza Haider is an associate professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, in Toronto. Murtaza is also the Director of a consulting firm Regionomics Inc. Professor Haider is currently (2014-15) a visiting research fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.

Professor Haider specializes in applying analytics and statistical models to find solutions for socio-economic challenges. His research interests include applied analytics, data science, forecasting housing market dynamics, transport/infrastructure/urban planning, and human development in Canada and South Asia.

Murtaza Haider is the author of the forthcoming Getting Started with Data Science: Making Sense of Data with Analytics (ISBN 9780133991024), which is published by Pearson/IBM Press in 2015.

He is an avid blogger and writes weekly for Dawn newspaper and occasionally for the Huffington Post.

Murtaza Haider holds a Masters in transport engineering and planning and a Ph.D. in Urban Systems Analysis from the University of Toronto. He is also an adjunct professor of engineering at McGill University.

Murtaza Haider can be reached by email at murtaza@regionomics.com or by phone at 416-318-1365.

Liam Donaldson is an independent consultant and works with Regionomics Inc. He holds a Masters in Urban Planning from Ryerson University.

Mehdi Nourinejad is a PhD candidate in transportation engineering at the University of Toronto. He holds a MASc. in transportation engineering from the University of Toronto.

SOURCE Beck Taxi

PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2015/09/29/20150929_C6395_PDF_EN_508957.pdf

For further information: For media enquiries: Travis Kann, media@becktaxi.com, 416-660-5991

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