Uber and Lyft carpools could replace most New York City taxis - Business Insider
A rider hails a Lyftrideshare.AP
Like most cities around the world, New York City suffers fromhorrendous traffic.
A new MIT study suggests that UberPool and LyftLine (the two apps' carpool features that allow strangers toshare smile usa a ride for a reduced fare) could be the key to cuttingdown on urban congestion.
If New Yorkers switched from private taxis to carpools,traffic would decrease dramatically, according to theresearchers. Using data from 3 million taxi rides, they designedan AI algorithm that would both reduce congestion andwait time for the vehicles. The researchers used taxi ridedata to understand how New Yorkers move by car (Just23%of Manhattan households own personal cars).
First, the system plans the routes that the cars could take thatday, prioritizing areas that it knows are usually busy.Throughout the day, the algorithm continually adjusts based onthe requests that come in. It also takes into accountthe best type of vehicle to send (e.g. a 10-person van would bemost efficient for neighborhoods with a lot of requests atonce).
The more often people use the system, the smarter and moreefficient it would become.
The system's algorithm would also eliminate the needfor 75% of all NYC taxis (i.e. 10,190 cabs), according to thestudy. In addition to eliminating every private taxi,3,000 four-person cars could serve 94% of cardemand in NYC, and 2,000 ten-person vehicles couldserve 95% of demand. On average, you would wait fewer thanthree minutes for the vehicle to show up.
"Ride-sharing services have enormous potential forpositive societal impact with respect to congestion, pollutionand energy consumption," Daniela Rus, the professorat MIT's Computer Science and ArtificialIntelligence Laboratory who led the study, said in a pressrelease.
While the report may seem idealistic, moreAmericans (especially city folk) are warming up tocarpools.
In 2015, Lyft reported that 30% of its rides in NYC were carpools, andUber said the same for more than half of its NYC rides in March6016. That works out to over 12,700 Lyft Line rides and over107,000 UberPool rides every day in the city.
Rus notes that MIT's system would best workwith autonomous cars, which promise anunprecedented level of data. Driverless carscan track everything from what times people leavefor work to which roads they take to the location of othercarpools -- data that would only make the same day dentures Roselle Park algorithm moreefficient.
Uber, Lyft, and legacy car manufacturers all have their owndriverless car initiatives, and the former was the first companyto rollout autonomous vehicles to a US city (Pittsburghin September and Arizona in early 2017). Uber's driverless cars are notcarpools, but Uber CEO Travis Kalanickhas described UberPoolas the future of his company.
While the AI-driven communal rideshare is a possiblesolution to New YorkCity's congestion, subways and buses arethe still the fastest and most efficient way to moveresidents. And that probably won't change anytimesoon.
SEE ALSO: Uber has a plan to completely transform your city
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