The Transformation of Transportation

Ridesharing, self-driving cars and other trends in US transportation

Technology is upending the way we travel. Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft have already largely displaced taxis, and self-driving cars have started to hit the road in some cities.

But the real question is if these developments affect Americans enough to change the way they interact with transportation. Has easy (and relatively affordable) access to ridesharing options affected car-buying? Are consumers ready for driverless cars? How has sentiment toward public transportation evolved in major cities?

We analyzed millions of social media posts over the last six years to answer some of these pertinent questions. And our research revealed three key insights about car-buying, ridesharing and driverless cars.

Car-buying maybe hitting a roadblock…in cities

Hop on the ride

In analyzing in change in these discussion topics within these major cities over the past six years, we found that ridesharing conversation, specifically about Lyft and Uber, has grown from 10% to nearly 50% of share of voice since 2013. That momentum is cutting into car buying and public transit conversation volumes.

Austin, Philadelphia, and New York are the three cities that discuss ridesharing the most, whereas residents in St. Louis, Los Angeles, and San Francisco discuss public transit considerably more than other regions.

Driverless cars and their dangers

A check on consumer sentiment towards self-driving cars revealed that people are more afraid of its perils than they’re excited by its potential. The discussion around self-driving cars gained momentum starting in 2014.

As discussions quickly polarized, fear and anger emerged as the most prominent emotions for self-driving cars, but fear has increased from 30% in 2010 to 50% in 2016.

While many rational fears can be allayed, fear of technological change cannot. Self-driving cars are exciting to some, and to some others, they signify an impending apocalypse.

For more insights, download the full report here.

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