David S.Kirk, Nicolo Cavalli, Noli Brazil
— Traffic fatalities are among the leading causes of death of 15–29 year olds.
— Study examines consequences of Uber’s rollout in Great Britain for road accidents.
— Uber associated with a 9% decline in serious road accident injuries.
— Slight injuries declined outside of London with Uber, but increased within London.
— No effect of Uber on traffic fatalities.
The nature of transportation has fundamentally transformed in recent years with the rise of ridehailing providers such as Uber. Yet, few studies have examined whether there is an association between ridehailing and rates of road accident injuries, and virtually all of the existing studies focus on the exceptional case of the United States. In this study, we exploit differences in the timing of the deployment of Uber across Britain to test the association between the advent of Uber’s ridehailing services and rates of fatal and non-fatal road accidents. We find that the deployment of Uber in Great Britain is associated with a marginally significant reduction in the number of serious road accident injuries (e.g., fractures and internal injuries), although not the number of serious accidents. Slight injuries (e.g., sprains and bruises) declined outside of London after the rollout of Uber, but increased within London. We do not observe a statistically significant association between Uber and traffic fatalities. One interpretation for the decline in serious road injuries is that Uber may be a substitute form of transportation for risky drivers, including drink-drivers. However, ridehailing is also a substitute for public transit, particularly buses. The increase in the number of cars on the road may explain why slight injuries increased in London following Uber’s rollout.
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