New York City needs just 3,000 ride-sharing vehicles to free up congestion image

There’s one thing about sightseeing in NYC – everyone associates the city with a simple color, yellow. That’s because of its huge affluence of taxis – a hallmark of one of the planet’s busiest cities.

The Big Apple has long been a staple of taxi drivers, as many people don’t want to use other means of transportation – like trains or the personal car. But it appears the jobs of taxi drivers might be in for a rough ride if the mayor decides to follow the instructions of MIT. The legendary Massachusetts Institute of Technology has used its computer and human brains to analyze data pertaining to more than three million taxi rides. Then they extrapolated to see the implications of using instead ride-sharing vehicles. And as it turns out, just 3,000 cars with room for up to four persons would actually handle 98 % of the taxi demand as seen today.

Today, over 14,000 cabs are present in NYC, so it’s fair to assume that trickling down to just 3,000 cars would also free up some much needed congestion. “Instead of transporting people one at a time, drivers could transport two to four people at once, results in fewer trips, in less time, to make the same amount of money,” said Daniela Rus of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Carpooling with services such as Uber or Lyft would also result in faster rides, with lower waiting times – but the real question might be if people do want to share the ride with others, particularly strangers.