Uber, Public Transit, and Urban Transportation Equity: A Case Study in New York City

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, mode - other, policy - equity


New York City, public transit, ridesourcing, Uber, urban transportation equity


With the explosive growth of Uber and other mobility service providers, their influences on urban mobility have attracted attention from both researchers and policy circles alike, yet few quantitative studies have been conducted on the topic. Using Uber pickup data in New York City in 2014, this article investigates the spatiotemporal relationship between Uber and public transit using buffer analysis and spatial cross-correlation analysis and assesses Uber’s impact on urban transportation equity with the Gini coefficient and correlation analysis. Our results confirm previous arguments that Uber both complements and competes with public transit, but competition is more prevalent in New York City. Specifically, Uber competes with public transit during most hours of the day and in areas with good public transit coverage, whereas it complements public transit at midnight and in places with insufficient public transit services. The distribution of Uber services is highly unequal, and Uber’s role in improving transport equity is insignificant. Correlation analysis shows that there tend to be fewer Uber pickups in low-income areas, which diverges from previous studies suggesting that Uber serves low-income areas well. In addition, a weak negative correlation is detected between the number of Uber pickups and the percentage of minorities.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Taylor&Francis, copyright remains with them.