Who uses Transport Network Companies?: Characterization of Demand and its Relationship with Public Transit in Medellín

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Sep 2021
Transport Network Companies (TNCs) have become a popular alternative for mobility due to their ability to provide on-demand flexible mobility services. By offering smartphone-based, ride-hailing services capable of satisfying specific travel needs, these modes have transformed urban mobility worldwide. However, to-date, few studies have examined the impacts in the Latin American context. This analysis is a critical first step in developing policies to promote efficient and sustainable transport systems in the Latin-American region. This research examines the factors affecting the adoption of on-demand ride services in Medellín, Colombia. It also explores whether these are substituting or competing with public transit. First, it provides a descriptive analysis in which we relate the usage of platform-based services with neighborhood characteristics, socioeconomic information of individuals and families, and trip-level details. Next, factors contributing to the election of platform-based services modeled using discrete choice models. The results show that wealthy and highly educated families with low vehicle availability are more likely to use TNCs compared to other groups in Medellín. Evidence also points at gender effects, with being female significantly increasing the probability of using a TNC service. Finally, we observe both transit complementary and substitution patterns of use, depending on the context and by whom the service is requested.