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How Ridesharing Could Help The Environment

There’s a debate as to whether ridesharing is going to help the environment, hurt it, or keep things just about the same. Let’s look at some of the possible advantages that it could bring, and what that would mean to the larger environmental picture.

Fewer Cars On The Road

Most studies show that ridesharing leads to fewer cars on the road, and the more popular it gets the fewer cars there should be. There are also ways for companies like Lyft and Uber to make their service more user-friendly for carpoolers which would cut down considerably on the number of cars needed overall.

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While some might argue that ridesharing encourages people to take a car instead of riding a bike or walking, in most cases the decision comes down to taking your own car or taking a rideshare car.

Of course, it would be better if more people biked if they could, as this is a zero emission form of transportation, but it’s best to compare apples to apples and it’s clear that rideshare apps result in fewer cars on the road, all else being equal.

Fewer Buses Needed

Both Uber and Lyft are experimenting with fixed-route cars that operate similar to buses, picking up passengers along the way and dropping him off where they need to be dropped off. Although it may be a long time before buses are replaced entirely, in the near future it could be that fewer buses would need to be sent on routes in densely populated areas.

Reduced Traffic Congestion

As ride-sharing companies communicate more with city planners they can come up with ideas that could help reduce traffic congestion. This will mean less time spent sitting in traffic for all cars on the road which can considerably reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being generated.

Most major cities are also thinking of ways to adjust their city streets for the onset of autonomous vehicles. In the meantime they should also be considering how to make their streets more rideshare friendly, perhaps offering special lanes for rideshare vehicles only.

Shortened Commutes

As mapping apps get smarter and more sophisticated they will be able to come up with routes that avoid the worst traffic areas, and also allow drivers to pick up multiple passengers heading in the same direction. Drivers will benefit by being able to make more money from the same route, and also by being able to drive more times per shift.

The Future Looks Cleaner

In the future things could get even more green as drivers could be using hybrid or electric vehicles as their rideshare car. Currently, some cities require taxis to be hybrid vehicles, which leads one to believe that at some point the same requirements could be made for rideshare companies.

If that happens, the reduction of fossil fuels and the release of greenhouse gases would be much lower than in the past three decades, perhaps leading to positive changes for the environment.

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