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MIT Study: Ride-Sharing Carpools Could Significantly Reduce Cars On Roads

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Lyft in San Francisco
A Lyft driver in San Francisco

Ride-sharing services could make a dent in nationwide traffic problems. A recent report by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory revealed carpool services such as UberPool and Lyft Line can reduce the number of cars on the road by 75%.

The study used an algorithm that found 3,000 four-passenger cars could replace about 14,000 taxis in New York City, reports the East Bay Times. The average wait time would be just under three minutes.

The only caveat is people need to be willing to carpool. Uber customers only used the carpool option for 20% of their trips, whenever it was available. Uber and Lyft continue to promote and expand their carpooling services. UberPool expanded into the East Bay Area early last year.

In Silicon Valley, commuters spend an average of 113 minutes a day in their cars, according to data from Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s Institute for Regional Studies. Only 10% of these commuters use carpools.

Self-driving cars also could help alleviate congestion. MIT’s algorithm could reroute cars to take more efficient trips and even send idle cars to high-demand areas, speeding up service by 20%. Both Uber and Lyft are developing self-driving cars. [EBT]