“Our study offers important insights into the design of platform strategies, especially for stimulating labor supply and providing incentives for urban transportation systems to adopt and use technology in response to urban emergencies,” says Beibei Li, associate professor of IT and management at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College and coauthor of the study in Information Systems Research.

Emergencies in urban settings can result in significant human and economic loss if they are not handled properly. While research has focused on developing and evaluating technology for emergency management, the field lacks solid evidence about how technology-initiated digital systems perform under such stressors.

Since urban transportation systems are a crucial part of cities’ emergency preparedness, researchers sought to understand how technology-equipped transportation services (i.e., ride-sharing platforms such as Uber) cope with uncertainty and help facilitate emergency relief.

Researchers collected taxi and for-hire vehicle records in New York City from January 2015 to December 2017. They considered how the services performed in multiple types of urban disasters, including terrorist attacks, subway shutdowns, and car crashes, measuring platform-level use based on the hourly number of trips.

Ride-sharing platforms outperformed taxi companies after urban emergencies. For example, while both taxis and ride-sharing services saw a decline in the use of their services after the September 17, 2016 bombing and the October 31, 2017 truck attack in New York City, the ride-sharing platforms experienced a smaller decline.

Read the full article about ride sharing during urban emergencies by Caitlin Kizielewicz at Futurity.