Associating ridesourcing with road safety outcomes: Insights from Austin, Texas

Eleftheria Kontou, Noreen McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Improving road safety and setting targets for reducing traffic-related crashes and deaths are highlighted as part of the United Nations sustainable development goals and worldwide vision zero efforts. The advent of transportation network companies and ridesourcing expands mobility options in cities and may impact road safety outcomes. We analyze the effects of ridesourcing use on road crashes, injuries, fatalities, and driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses in Travis County, Texas. Our approach leverages real-time ridesourcing volume to explain variation in road safety outcomes. Spatial panel data models with fixed-effects are deployed to examine whether the use of ridesourcing is significantly associated with road crashes and other safety metrics. Our results suggest that for a 10% increase in ridesourcing trips, we expect a 0.12% decrease in road crashes, a 0.25% decrease in road injuries, and a 0.36% decrease in DWI offenses in Travis County. On the other hand, ridesourcing use is not significantly associated with road fatalities. This study augments existing work because it moves beyond binary indicators of ridesourcing availability and analyzes crash and ridesourcing trips patterns within an urbanized area rather than their metropolitan-level variation. Contributions include developing a data-rich approach for assessing the impacts of ridesourcing use on the transportation system’s safety, which may serve as a template for future analyses for other cities. Our findings provide feedback to policymakers by clarifying associations between ridesourcing use and traffic safety and uncover the potential to achieve safer mobility systems with transportation network companies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0248311
JournalPloS one
Issue number3 March
StatePublished - Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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