Portland Taxi/Transportation Network Company Market Analysis

2016–2017

The emergence of transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft has drastically changed the private-for-hire market in cities. The impacts to Portland have been particularly acute. Prior to the arrival of TNCs, Portland had one of the most tightly regulated taxi markets in the nation, with only 460 permitted taxicabs as recently as February 2015. The changing landscape forced the City to quickly lift the permit cap, and by the end of 2015, Portland had thousands of taxis and TNC vehicles on the road.

The City of Portland enlisted StreetLab to lead a multidisciplinary study of the state of the Taxi/TNC Market. Along with partner firms Lois Cohen Associates and Johnson Economics, we analyzed various economic factors influencing the market to inform the City’s ongoing efforts at regulating this quickly-changing industry. Our work looked at the demographics, wages, and lifestyles for taxi drivers before and after the arrival of TNCs, and examined how the same characteristics among TNC drivers compare. A major focus was upon the economic implications of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs), with a focus upon how the City might use TNC revenues to incentivize expanded WAV service.