MIT & Uber Team Up to Investigate the Future of Urban Ride-Sharing


Uber and MIT are teaming up to research what the future has in store for us in terms of transportation. The Institute’s Senseable City Lab and the San Francisco-based company recently announced a research collaboration in which they'll explore how ride-sharing networks could impact urban transportation further down the road.

“We all know how the ‘sharing economy’ has revolutionized many aspects of our lives. How will it challenge traditional notions of mobility and individual freedom after the advent of self-driving?" Carlo Ratti, professor of the practice of urban technologies and director of the Senseable City Lab, told MIT. “In the United States, cars are idle 95 percent of the time, so they are an ideal candidate for the sharing economy.”

Through this joint effort, Uber and MIT's Senseable City Lab will analyze data from cities throughout the world to see how different urban factors could affect ride-sharing and mobility. For example, they'll look into correlations between city size and transportation sharing potential, as well as how socioeconomic and cultural elements could shape ride shareability.

“We recognize sharing as the critical element in enabling on-demand mobility systems to deliver benefits to riders, drivers, and cities,” Andrew Salzberg, head of transportation policy and research at Uber, said in the announcement. “It’s why we’ve invested so much into building uberPOOL into a successful product in over 30 cities around the world, and it’s why we’re partnering with Senseable City Lab to push the boundaries of what’s possible.”

Prior MIT research suggests that ride-sharing could potentially lead to city-dwellers being able to travel on demand with a fifth of the cars currently used. With additional data from Uber, they hope pooling their resources will lead to a clearer idea of how ride-sharing could impact transportation on the global level.

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