Ride-Sharing Service


Lyft, the ride-sharing service, has a plan to fix Los Angeles’s traffic snarls, according to Lyft’s president and co-founder John Zimmer. That plans includes narrowing roads and replacing former road space with tree beds. Toward that end, Lyft has partnered with L.A.’s urban planning and design professionals including the Southern California Association of Governments, the consulting firm Nelson/Nygaard, and architects Perkins+Will.

L.A. traffic nightmares are legendary among large cities in the U.S., with Los Angelinos spending an average of 100 unproductive hours per year sitting in traffic. The typical Los Angeles street looks much like Wilshire Boulevard: 10 lanes of traffic. But more lanes don’t equal less congestion, the consulting team contends. In fact, just the opposite is true.

Nelson/Nygaard’s Jeff Tumlin says that while currently, 68 percent of drivers drive alone in their vehicles, cars are among the least efficient means of moving people. Cars take up ten times as much space as other means of transportation. The collective effort to encourage Angelinos to walk, bike, carpool, and use other means of transportation is referred to as the 100 Hours Project.

Lyft’s contributions to the 100 Hours Project will include offering 20 percent off its ride-sharing services in the Los Angeles area for a limited time in order to encourage carpooling. The city of Los Angeles has publicly announced a goal of having half of the city’s people-moving accomplished by walking, biking, and public transportation routes by 2035.

To accomplish this goal, L.A. will have to buck the trend of New York City. In New York, ride-sharing services including Lyft added 600 million additional miles of car rides from 2014-2017. Traffic has worsened in Manhattan, where vehicle speeds have decreased by 13 percent between 2010 and 2017.

For this reason Hasan Ikhrata, the Southern California Association of Governments’s executive director, has suggested congestion pricing, a traffic-reducing model used in European cities that include London and Stockholm. In this model, drivers pay a small fee for entering high-traffic areas on congested days.