Webinar: Equity in Ridehailing Services

Webinar: Equity in Ridehailing Services

March 14, 2019 4:00 pm to 4:30 pm

When: 4:00pm ET, Thursday, March 14, 2019
Where: Via webinar


For decades, taxis have provided profoundly unequal levels of service based on rider race. In 2012, however, ridehail companies such as Uber and Lyft upended the taxi industry by connecting riders to drivers using smartphone applications. Yet despite potential equity implications for travelers, we do not know if discrimination manifests in these new services and how it compares to the status quo embodied by taxis. To fill this gap, this paper asks and answers two questions. First, is there evidence of service discrimination—manifested in longer wait times and higher rates of cancelled ride requests—by rider race, ethnicity, or gender on ridehail and taxi services? And second, can different hailing platforms combined with quantitative differences across riders yield insights into when discrimination occurs?

To answer these questions, an audit study of ridehail and taxi services was conducted in Los Angeles. Audit results reveal stark discrimination against black taxi riders. Taxis failed to pick up black riders for more than one-quarter of their trip hails (26%), compared to about one-seventh (14%) of trips hailed by white riders. By contrast, ridehail services nearly eliminated the differences across rider characteristics. On taxis, black riders waited 6 to 15 minutes longer than white riders; by comparison, black ridehail users waited between 11 seconds and 1 minute 43 seconds longer than white users. Findings suggest that discrimination occurs when people infer rider characteristics and yield implications for how policymakers can use new technologies to deter discrimination and achieve equitable service for all travelers.

Alice Grossman, PhD, Policy Analyst, Eno Center for Transportation
Anne Brown, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Planning, Public Policy, and Management at the University of Oregon

Webinar Recording

Record Date: March 14, 2019


Dr. Brown’s Dissertation: Ridehail Revolution: Ridehail Travel and Equity in Los Angeles

Dr. Brown’s website

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