Urban mobility: from CNR a study on the potential of ride sharing
One of the emerging trends in mobility is ride sharing, or shared mobility: a transport mode based on car rides. A recent study, appeared in Nature Scientific Reports, used an extensive dataset to predict the future of this type of solution in 30 cities.
The study was conducted by a group of researchers from the Institute of Informatics and Telematics of the National Research Council (IIT-CNR), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Cornell University, in collaboration with the transport company Uber, which in 30 cities has activated UberPool, a service with non-professional drivers. “Thanks to the huge amount of data generated by this and similar systems, it is possible to predict the potential for shared mobility in an unprecedented way”, explained Paolo Santi, a researcher at the IIT-CNR and at the MIT Senseable City Lab.
Using data on over 200 million taxi trips in New York City, Singapore, San Francisco and Vienna, the researchers found the law of ride sharing that is applicable to any city. “To quantify the ratio between the demand for urban mobility and the number of shareable trips, we used a methodology based on the network science. ‒ continued Santi ‒ Our research team also developed a model of the 'law of ride sharing': three simple parameters ‒ urban area, density of trip requests and average traffic speed ‒ were used to obtain an accurate estimate of the number of trips that can be shared in a city”.
The results obtained were unexpected in some cases. Milan showed a potential for ride sharing of about 50%, greater than Rome: this difference is largely due to the different urban traffic speed. Berlin and London are among the cities at the bottom of the list, while New York City stands at the top of the list as the city with the highest percentage of shareability.
“The research results also highlight similarities between cities historically and structurally different such as Vienna and New York City. This result is surprising and the possible explanation for this similarity, despite the structural differences, is that what affects ride shareability is the way in which we organize our lives rather than city structure”, added the researcher.
Carlo Ratti, Director at the MIT Senseable City Lab, who led the study, concluded: “With autonomous vehicles coming to our roads, car pooling and ride sharing could become increasingly popular, creating new mobility systems representing a hybrid between public and private transport”.