Differences in ride-hailing adoption by older Californians among types of locations





Gender, Home location, Older adults, Ride-hailing, Technology adoption


Ride-hailing services such as Lyft and Uber can complement rides offered by family, friends, paid providers, and public transit. To learn why older adults might wish to use ride-hail, we conducted an online survey of 2,917 California respondents age 55 and older. Participants were asked whether they would value four features hypothesized to be benefits of ride-hailing. We specified binary logit models and used market segmentation to investigate whether there were location-based differences in the use of ride-hailing. Our analysis showed that women, city dwellers, persons with disabilities, and those who rely on others for rides were more open to ride-hailing. Women in suburbs or small town/rural settings were more likely to ride-hail than their male counterparts for reasons of independence, fear of being lost while driving, or getting help with carrying bags. Urban women, in contrast, were less likely than their male counterparts to ride-hail for these reasons. High-income individuals in suburbs or small town/rural locations were more likely to ride-hail than low-income respondents, while high-income urban residents were less likely to ride-hail. Adoption of ride-hailing services and the reasons for doing so showed strong variability by location even among respondents with similar socio-demographic attributes.

Author Biographies

Manish Shirgaokar, University of Colorado, Denver

Dr. Shirgaokar is an assistant professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Colorado Denver. His research focuses on travel behavior, transportation consumption, and social equity in infrastructure policy. He has published research papers based on cases in the U.S., Canada, and India. He has a B. Arch degree (Honors) from the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda, India, and a dual-graduate Masters (M.C.P. / M. Arch) from the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley. More information at https://www.shirgaokar.com and on twitter @CityProfessor.

Aditi Misra, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

Dr. Aditi Misra is an Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute with expertise in stated and revealed choice experiments and data-driven travel behavior modeling and simulation. She has been a Data Science for Social Good, Atlanta program fellow and a recipient of the AirSage Pass Scholarship for data-driven transportation research. Dr. Misra is also a member of the World Economic Forum's advisory panel on the Seamless Integrated Mobility System (SIMSystem) project. She holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering (Transportation Systems Engineering) from Georgia Institute of Technology with a minor in Computational Econometrics, an M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut, and a B.C.E degree from Jadavpur University (India).

Asha Weinstein Agrawal, San José State University

Dr. Agrawal is the Director of the MTI National Transportation Finance Center, Education Director at MTI, and Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, all at San José State University. Her research and teaching interests in transportation policy and planning include transportation finance, bicycle and pedestrian planning, and travel survey methods. She also works in the area of transportation history. She has a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.Sc. in Urban and Regional Planning from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a B.A. from Harvard University in Folklore and Mythology.

Martin Wachs, University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Martin Wachs is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Civil & Environmental Engineering and of City & Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, where he directed the Institute of Transportation Studies and the University of California Transportation Center. He earlier spent 25 years at UCLA, where he was Chairman of the Department of Urban Planning for eleven years. After retiring from the University, Wachs became the Director of Transportation, Space, and Technology Program at the RAND Corporation. He now teaches and conducts research at UCLA in transportation policy.  Wachs is the author of 200 articles and book chapters and wrote or edited five books on transportation finance and economics, relationships between transportation, land use, and air quality, transportation needs of the elderly, techniques for the evaluation of transportation systems, and the use of performance measurement in transportation planning. His research also addresses, equity in transportation policy, crime in public transit systems, and the response of transportation systems to natural disasters including earthquakes.

Bonnie Dobbs, University of Alberta, Canada

Dr. Bonnie Dobbs is Professor in the Department of Family Medicine, Director of the Medically At-Risk Driver Centre, and Director of Research for the Division of Care of the Elderly at the University of Alberta. She is a gerontologist with specialization in psychology, medicine, and human ecology. She has published numerous books, research reports, and journal articles relevant to this project, including Adult Development and Aging: The Canadian Experience” (Nelson Canada 2017); “Transportation Toolkit for the Implementation of Alternate Transportation for Seniors in Alberta” (The Medically At-Risk Driver Centre, 2016); “Staying Connected: Issues of Mobility of Rural Seniors”, in N. Keating (Ed.), A Good Place to Grow Old? Critical Perspectives on Rural Ageing (The Policy Press, 2008); and “Transportation and Aging: Exploring Stakeholders’ Perspectives on Advancing Safe Mobility” (South Africa Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2011).


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How to Cite

Shirgaokar, M., Misra, A., Weinstein Agrawal, A., Wachs, M., & Dobbs, B. (2021). Differences in ride-hailing adoption by older Californians among types of locations. Journal of Transport and Land Use, 14(1), 367–387. https://doi.org/10.5198/jtlu.2021.1827