The following report and analysis was done by SherpaShare in collaboration with Simon from the Rideshare Dashboard. SherpaShare looked at Uber markets across the US and selected 10 of the largest Uber markets in the US for further analysis.
The length and speed of Uber trips are increasing
The US average Uber trip distance has increased by 12%
We noticed this trend in certain markets but this was the first time we dove into the data in greater detail. In the 10 cities analyzed, the average trip distance increased by 13%, while the national average trip distance increased by 12%.
In addition, Austin, Chicago, and Dallas all grew by over 20% with Dallas showing the largest trip length increase at 30%, increasing from 7 to 9 miles.
The explanation for this increase? Most of the time, Uber (and Lyft) will launch in a new market within a tight coverage area and after a few months will expand coverage area into surrounding neighborhoods. Uber launches in this manner to ensure an adequate demand of rides in the coverage area and enough drivers to meet this demand.
Once there are enough drivers, Uber and Lyft will expand the coverage area. This expansion leads to an increase in potential customers and rides as more customers fall into the coverage area. Also, more drivers in surrounding areas will sign up as drivers, growing the entire rideshare ecosystem. It is common for many of these drivers to drive into the city center if they can’t find rides where they live.
While 12% may seem a lot, the national average trip distance is 6.4 miles, so 12% is only about ¾ of a mile. Drivers may earn another 50 cents or so from the extra mileage, which amounts to about a 5% increase in the total trip fare.
The US average Uber trip speed has increased by 9%
While average trip distance has increased by 12%, what was most interesting was that the average trip time only increased by 3%. This results in a 9% average trip speed increase. This was calculated by dividing the average trip distance by average trip time. This surprised us as we would have expected trip speed to stay relatively unchanged.
Austin, Dallas, and Washington, DC had the highest increases in trip speed. In Dallas, the average trip went from 28.4 to 32.8 MPH, and in Washington, DC from 19.3 to 22.6 MPH. Across all US Uber markets tracked, the average speed went from 24.9 to 27 MPH.
The explanation for this increase in speed? This may be a result of the locations of expanded coverage areas – longer trips that involve more use of highways for example, increasing the overall trip speed. But does going faster necessarily mean more money? Does driving outside a slow, congested city center really give you an edge to maximizing your take home pay?
Here’s the catch: As your per mile cost of operating the vehicle stays roughly the same, the longer the trip distance, the more spent in operating your vehicle. (Here are some tips on tracking your full driving mileage). As a result, gross earnings may only marginally increase due to longer trips over the same period of time. And this will be further impacted by the lower rates.
What do you think?
Below is the summary table for the 10 cities that were looked at in more detail, included increase in distance and speed throughout 2015. Want to see more Uber data? Check out our data archives.
|Increase in Distance*||Increase in Speed**|
*Distances were based on Q1 2015 average trip lengths (Jan-Mar) as compared to Q4 2015 average trip lengths (Oct-Dec). **Speed was based on average trip distance divided by average trip time, converted into miles per hour (MPH).