You might not use Uber Pool, Uber’s service that allows passengers traveling along similar routes to share a vehicle, but it makes all the difference when it comes to getting cars off the road. Time and time again, data shows the dramatic difference Uber Pool makes for reducing traffic congestion, which in turn will cut down on carbon emissions.
A recent study from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory revealed that Uber could replace every single taxi on New York City’s roads with just a fraction of the vehicles. There are 14,000 taxi medallions in the city, and the team discovered that 3,000 two-person Uber cars could cover 94 percent of all ride requests.
However, that’s all dependent on a special algorithm the team developed that routes cars based on where they’re most likely needed next. And yes, it does assume everyone’s using Uber Pool or similar features.
During his TED talk in February 2016, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick displayed a map of downtown San Francisco to illustrate how ride-sharing reduces congestion. Look at the map below:
The company claims that technologies like Uber Pool help to make cities smarter. As Uber routes rides to its most efficient destinations, the number of half-full cars on the road decreases. The technology is running through user smartphones and Uber servers, but it’s affecting municipal-level traffic in a positive way without city intervention.
In the future, as Uber turns to self-driving cars, it’s possible Uber Pool will grow more efficient. When the computer is in complete control of the route, it could take a detour where it’s more likely a passenger may request a ride, for example.