It’s no secret that property values and neighborhood development are closely linked to an area’s transportation availability. However, the current system of personal cars and public transit is being rapidly reinvented by ride-sharing platforms like Uber and Lyft which have cut into taxi markets and reduced many people’s reliance on cars in cities. The change is just the beginning. These services are now offering carpooling in an effort to further compete with cars and mass transit
Uber and Lyft first rose to prominence through their ride calling service that brought the convenience of taxis into the 21st century using smartphone apps. That business model successfully bridged a gap between different modes of transit and marked the beginning of a shift in transportation norms. However, they are still prohibitively expensive for many people.
Carpooling services could be a more viable alternative. With the recent unveiling of UberPool and Lyft Line, users are now able to take advantage of the companies’ wider access and convenience at a discounted rate by sharing the cars with other users going in the same direction.
With this reduced price, ride-sharing companies will attract a larger audience than ever and have a greater impact on the cities they operate in. Neighborhoods and cities without access to public transportation systems will now be able to level the playing field and attract more residents and businesses. The disparity between different cities based off of size and quality of mass transit will likely shrink.
So what does this mean for commercial real estate? Less people will stick to the set subway and bus routes. Traffic can be more evenly dispersed throughout cities, so mixed use properties may grow in popularity and apartment buildings might be less likely to sprout up in dense pockets. Regardless of how it happens or what it will look like, American cities will evolve as the ride share services gain more momentum.