Innovations like ride-hailing, self-driving cars can’t fix urban transport’s woes

A driver displays Uber and Lyft ride sharing signs in his car windscreen in Santa Monica, California, U.S., May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/Files

Urban transportation is undergoing a revolution. Offerings such as Uber and Lyft, as well as car- and bike-sharing services are widely believed to reduce congestion and generally make urban dwellers more mobile; driverless cars are expected to provide further benefits. Yet the notion that these innovations always make things better is far from a given: The new services are a net good only if they complement traditional public transportation systems rather than compete with them.

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