Exploring the nonlinear effects of ridesharing on public transit usage: A case study of San Diego

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, planning - surveys, planning - integration, ridership - behaviour, land use - urban density


Spatial dependence, Multilevel, Generalized additive models, Nonlinear effects, Ridesharing use frequency


The emergence of ridesharing services might complement or substitute public transit systems, leading to intricate relationships between the two services. However, limited studies focused on the nonlinear effects of ridesharing use frequency on public transit usage. Therefore, this paper investigated such nonlinear effects using the hierarchical negative binomial generalized additive model (HNBGAM), with the latest publicly available National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) dataset. The negative binomial and hierarchical negative binomial generalized linear models were also developed for comparison with the HNBGAM. The NHTS data involved travel information of 928 ridesharing users within 98 census tracts in San Diego. Two-level hierarchy (individual and census tract level) was constructed in the HNBGAM. In addition, the smooth function of the HNBGAM could help identify the nonlinear effects of ridesharing use frequencies on public transit usage. Demographic factors (age, gender, race, household size, etc.) and built environment factors (e.g., population density, worker density, percentage of rental houses, and house unit density) were also considered in the modeling process. The findings revealed a negligible impact on public transit usage for occasional ridesharing use (from one to eleven times per month), a complementary effect for regular ridesharing use (from eleven to thirty-two times per month), and a substitution effect for active ridesharing use (more than thirty-two times per month). Understanding such nonlinear relationships could help policymakers make more informed decisions to avoid the over-substitution of public transit usage and better complement the public transport system.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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