TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Ride-hailing could transform worldwide transportation, but don’t expect major disruptions in the U.S., concludes a report by the Center for Automotive Research.
It won’t change habits across the nation, and it won’t result in too many lost sales, the report says.
Millennials and some baby boomers in U.S. cities are proving to be early adopters for services such as car-sharing, ride-hailing and even bike-sharing, CAR says. But Americans in less densely populated suburbs and rural areas will continue to rely on traditional car ownership.
The two largest ride-hailing operators, Uber and Lyft, have 650,000 U.S. drivers. And Zipcar, the largest car-sharing service, is available in 46 of the 50 largest U.S. cities.
But urban dwellers who use these mobility services typically own one vehicle per household. The national average is two vehicles per household.
Ride-hailing customers tend to be young and highly educated. And in an interesting trend, urban dwellers that use these services also have increased their usage of public transit.
This suggests that car-sharing and ride-hailing complement rather than compete with traditional urban bus and subway service in major cities such as New York, Washington and San Francisco.
According to CAR’s examination of the trends, North American car-sharing programs will grow. CAR forecasts that they will attract 3.8 million users and nearly 51,000 vehicles in 2021, up from 1.6 million users in 2014.
Big city growth
Most of those users will be in big cities, and they will enjoy significantly lower transportation costs than traditional car owners. A household that uses car-sharing will save anywhere from $154 to $435 per year, CAR projects.
But car-sharing loses its cost advantage over private ownership if the user travels more than 8,200 miles per year. Uber-style ride-hailing is cost effective for users who travel less than 2,200 miles a year.
North America’s pinch from the trend will be fairly insignificant, CAR concludes.
The study anticipates the trend will result to a reduction of 12,700 new and used vehicle sales a year in the U.S. through 2021.
And those lost sales will be primarily concentrated in the country’s largest cities.