Socioeconomic and usage characteristics of transportation network company (TNC) riders

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - urban, place - north america, mode - other, mode - rail, ridership - behaviour, ridership - young people, planning - surveys


Transportation network companies (TNC), Ride sharing, Shared mobility, Travel behavior, Uber, Lyft


The widespread adoption of smartphones followed by an emergence of transportation network companies (TNC) have influenced the way individuals travel. The authors use the 2017 National Household Travel Survey to explore socioeconomic, frequency of use, and spatial characteristics associated with TNC users. The results indicate that TNC riders tend to be younger, earn higher incomes, have higher levels of education, and are more likely to reside in urban areas compared to the aggregate United States population. Of the TNC users, 60% hailed a ride three times or less in the previous month, indicating that TNC services are primarily used for special occasions. TNC users use public transit at higher rates and own fewer vehicles compared to the aggregate United States population. In fact, the TNC user population reported similar frequencies of use for both TNC services and public transit during the previous month. Approximately 40% of TNC users reside in regions with population densities greater than 10, 000 persons per square mile compared to only 15% for non-TNC users. Lastly, reported use of public transit for TNC users living in large cities (> 1 million) with access to heavy rail was almost three times greater when compared to similar sized cities without heavy rail. The average monthly frequency of TNC use was also elevated when heavy rail was present.


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