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How Carpooling Apps Could Reduce Taxi Traffic 75 Percent, According to a Recent MIT Study

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Traffic jam (Getty Images)
Carpooling apps could be the way to reduce and even eliminate traffic jams. (Getty Images)

 

As anyone who’s been forced to make a brutal commute knows, traffic jams go beyond an inconvenience. They are a problem with a very real price. Studies have estimated the annual cost of congestion at $160 billion for the United States. This includes seven billion hours of time lost to sitting in traffic and an extra three billion gallons of fuel burned.

Yet there may be a simple way to, if not get rid of them completely, at least make a significant reduction. That’s because carpooling apps could eliminate the need for a huge number of those cars.

Adam Conner-Simons of MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has reported on a study that seems very encouraging for those in overcrowded American cities. He writes:

“Led by Professor Daniela Rus of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), researchers developed an algorithm that found that 3,000 four-passenger cars could serve 98 percent of taxi demand in New York City, with an average wait time of only 2.7 minutes.”

MIT's study explores replacing taxis with ride-sharing car services, like Uber or Lyft. (Jose Luis Stephens/Radius Images/Getty Images)
MIT’s study explores replacing taxis with ride-sharing car services, like Uber or Lyft. (Jose Luis Stephens/Radius Images/Getty Images)

 

This data is heartening because it suggests that “95 percent of demand would be covered by just 2,000 ten-person vehicles, compared to the nearly 14,000 taxis that currently operate in New York City.”

In other words, if more and more people are willing to get carpooling apps and share a ride, there can be a significant reduction in the cars required to get everyone where they need to go.

To read more about the promising news for anyone hoping to get home in time for dinner, click here. To better visualize how the carpooling works, watch the video below.

 

RealClearLife Staff