Ride hailing services (such as Lyft and Uber) are frequently pointed to as a means of filling mobility gaps in a transportation system, especially in areas that are not well-served by transit. How might nonprofit organizations address the mobility needs of their clients through ride hailing (also known as Transportation Network Companies, or TNCs)? Many people who use nonprofit services (e.g. food assistance, social services, health care or educational support) also experience transportation challenges in reaching that service. This is an under-examined area in our new mobility landscape. The latest report funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), The Impact of Ride Hail Services on the Accessibility of Nonprofit Services, found that TNC use by nonprofits is uneven, and while useful and addressing a need, there are significant costs in price and capacity that make Uber and Lyft impractical. 

Led by Dyana Mason of the University of Oregon (UO), the report shares qualitative interviews with nonprofit service providers and clients discussing TNCs, as well as policy recommendations. She will be sharing this work in an ...

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Bicyclists ride in a protected bike lane, buffered by planters
Photo by Cait McCusker
Marc Schlossberg and Heather Brinton, University of Oregon

Advances in transportation technology — e-scooters and bike share, Lyft & Uber, and autonomous vehicles — are beginning to have profound impacts on cities. New mobility is changing not only how we travel, but also urban form and development itself. In the near future, we can expect differences in what public transit looks like, the layout of cities, and the places we spend our time. In turn,...

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OVERVIEW

Nonprofit organizations are responsible for providing human services across the United States, often in partnership with government agencies. In this work, they address some of the most pressing social issues – including homelessness, poverty, health care and education. While many of these organizations consider location and accessibility crucial to supporting their clients – often locating services near bus or train stops, for example – little is known about the impact of new technologies, including ride hail services (also called Transportation Network Companies, or TNCs) like Lyft and Uber, on nonprofit accessibility.   

Do these services help fill gaps in client needs? How are nonprofit organizations considering these services in meeting client needs?

This exploratory and qualitative study is among the first of its kind to measure the impact of TNCs and other emerging technologies on community mobility and the accessibility of human services, helping to build stronger communities. This study includes interviews with nonprofit service providers and clients in Seattle to explore the ways nonprofit leaders and organizations are using TNCS, and the impact on their clients.

KEY LEARNING OUTCOMES

  • Nonprofit human services organizations use transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft to support client mobility, but that use is modest and uneven across organizations.
  • ...
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