By 2030, Uber says Missourians can look forward to more ride-sharing, less traffic

Jacob2It’s the year 2030 and you live in Liberty, Missouri. You’re also lucky because you have tickets to that evening’s Kansas City Royals game. How will you get there?

If this scenario happened today, you’d likely drive your gas-powered vehicle to the stadium and pay $15 to park in the massive lots there.

But with the changes happening in transportation today, it’s almost anyone’s guess how you will make that trip just 13 years from now.

Will you stop at the gas station on the way, or will you have to remember to unplug your car before leaving the garage? Will you drive the car, or will the car drive you? Perhaps you won’t even own a vehicle, instead relying on widespread ride-sharing services or new forms of public transit.

Many companies are working to answer these questions.

With the potential for so much change coming, Missouri Business reached out to the biggest transportation companies and industry newcomers to hear their visions for this scenario: how someone in Liberty will get to the Royals game in 2030.

Only one company responded: Uber.

Here is what Uber had to say:

uber2For years, the people of Liberty and Kansas City have relied on cars to transport them where they need to be. With parking structures readily available, many residents take to the road, spending hours commuting in traffic to and from work and their other day-to-day activities. 

This is not a unique problem. Congestion is not only a fact of life in major cities all around the world; it also increases pollution. But the problem is not so much cars themselves — it’s how we use them: individually. Next time you stop at a red light, look to your right or left. Chances are those cars will have just one person in them: the driver.

For many individuals, car ownership is a necessity, not a luxury. It’s a form of “mobility insurance” — people own cars to ensure that they can reliably get where they need to go. This is especially true in poorer communities that are not well-served by subways or trains. 

The good news is that technology — on-demand ride-sharing apps like Uber — can help solve these problems. The ability to push a button and get a ride is becoming a reliable, convenient and affordable alternative to individual car ownership. On-demand ride-sharing apps complement existing public transportation systems, at no extra cost to the taxpayer. If your subway or bus doesn’t get you all the way home, Uber will take you the last few miles. 

A few years ago our engineers noticed that Uber had lots of duplicate rides — that is, people going to the same place at the same time. They asked the question: “Could we use technology to match these people up in real time, making it one ride instead of two, or even three?” The real question was: “Would people choose to carpool with strangers for a discount?” 

The answer was a resounding yes. Because sharing isn’t the issue: It’s price and convenience that matter most to people. In cities where POOL is available, it accounts for 20 percent of all Uber trips.

While the progress we’ve made in the last five years is exciting, self-driving cars will enable us to fast-forward to this future. A recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development study found that a shared, self-driving service could reduce the number of cars on the road by 90% or more. With that, our cities would become unrecognizable, with so much of the stress and cost gone from city life. This is our hope for the future: that we can turn every journey into a shared journey using a combination of ride-sharing and public transportation.

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