The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) has released its annual Mobility Report that analyzes recent trends and describes how New Yorkers move around. Fortunately, this year DOT combined all Taxi and For-Hire Vehicle (FHV: Uber, Lyft, etc.) trips in order to better account for the explosion of FHV trips since 2010. Overall FHV trips are up by almost 90% since 2010, adding 36.9 million trips a year between 2016 and 2017 alone, a year over year increase of almost 23%. This has coincided with decreases in subway and bus ridership and an increase in vehicle registration. So, for those who operate or rely on commercial vehicles in their businesses, what are some important facts to know?
Travel speeds through Manhattan and throughout NYC have been in consistent decline since 2012 and a slowing rate of decline since 2015. Travel speeds in the Manhattan Central Business District (CBD) saw a slight decline between 2016 and 2017 and are down by 22% since 2010 (see below)
Average speeds in the CBD and Midtown core have plummeted from around 9 and 6.5 mph respectively in 2010 to abysmal 7 and 5 mph in 2017. Over half of the total vehicular travel in this area is due to taxis and FHVs. Trucks only represent about 13% of vehicles and private cars about 33%. In fact, private auto and truck trips have declined in the Midtown core by almost 23% since 1995. Those in the media who would blame trucks for increased congestion are at best, sorely misguided. To that end, the report makes reference to how congestion pricing will allegedly fix all of this but the fact that most trips are non-discretionary, as well as DOT’s own speed projections, shows that won’t be the case.
Congestion pricing aside though, it will be interesting to compare this report to the one that comes out in 10 or even 5 years. One reason for this is to see if the recent FHV caps will serve their intended purpose. Though the genie may be out of the bottle at this point, the fact that DOT is now monitoring this closer is a key to understanding what, if anything can curb FHV usage. DOT is also looking to better accommodate freight needs into street redesigns and shifting consumer demand. As FHVs has exploded over the past decade so too has e-commerce. About 45% of New Yorkers surveyed said they receive the delivery at their home at least once a week. Though commercial deliveries inside the commercial core may be decreasing, they are ever-increasing into residential areas.