Impacts of on-demand ride services on the number of traffic crashes – A case study of RideAustin in Austin, TX

Muhammad Arif Khan, Roya Etminani-Ghasrodashti, Apurva Pamidimukkala, Sharareh Kermanshachi, Jay Michael Rosenberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


On-demand ridesharing services are rapidly growing and are predicted to continue to do so, as they offer millions of trips to potential riders every day. Empirical research have extensively investigated the effects of ridesharing services on travel behaviour, traffic congestion, and environmental factors. However, the potential influence of these services on the occurrence of traffic crashes has been largely overlooked. Previous research examining the safety implications of ridesharing services has primarily focused on the existence of such services. Nevertheless, we contend that the mere presence of a ridesharing service does not inherently ensure either a favorable or unfavorable influence on traffic safety. It is the frequency of service consumption that is more likely to have an influence. The objective of this study is to examine the effects of ridesharing services on the incidence of traffic crashes and injuries. The analysis will focus on RideAustin, a locally based ridesharing service operating in Austin, TX, as a specific case study. The difference-in-difference methodology is employed in this study to examine the impact of RideAustin on traffic accidents at the U.S. census block group level. This analysis considers sociodemographic characteristics and built environment variables as control factors. The dataset utilised in this study comprises over 1.4 million trips from 2016 to 2017, sourced from RideAustin. Additionally, the traffic crash and injury data included in this study spans the period from 2012 to 2020 and encompasses approximately 373,000 traffic crashes, as obtained from the Texas Department of Transportation. The use of difference-in-difference models revealed that a statistically significant reduction in the occurrence of traffic crashes was observed solely when the number of trips within a certain block group above a specific threshold. The study determined that the mere presence of services and their infrequent utilization (less than one ride per block group) did not have a statistically significant effect on traffic safety. The results obtained from this study will contribute to a more comprehensive comprehension of the safety advantages associated with ridesharing services, consequently assisting transportation and policy planners in mitigating the occurrence of traffic accidents in metropolitan regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100966
JournalTransportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives
StatePublished - Nov 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • General Environmental Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Management Science and Operations Research

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