Uber and Lyft have consumed a vast amount of attention since they arrived a decade ago. But in many ways, we’re just beginning to understand what ride-hailing is doing. 

A growing cache of research by academics and policymakers points to a host of negative impacts associated with the explosive popularity of on-demand rides, including increased traffic congestion, declines in public transit ridership and upticks in traffic fatalities. A new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists evaluates another, less-examined ramification of the ride-hailing sector: its environmental toll. 

The study estimates that the average U.S. ride-hailing trip results in 69% more pollution than the transportation choices it displaces, based on federal vehicle efficiency statistics, data collected by state and local transportation regulators and previous survey-based academic research. The effects are likely even worse in downtown areas, where riders are more likely to choose on-demand rides in lieu of cleaner modes of mobility.

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