Ridesourcing, the sharing economy, and the future of cities

Scarlett T. Jin, Hui Kong, Rachel Wu, Daniel Z. Sui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

255 Scopus citations


As an integral part of the emerging sharing economy, ridesourcing refers to transportation services that connect community drivers with passengers via mobile devices and applications. The spectacular growth of ridesourcing has sparked a burgeoning literature discussing how it affects the future of cities. This paper presents a systematic review of the existing literature concerning the impact of ridesourcing on the efficiency, equity, and sustainability of urban development. Ridesourcing has a positive impact on economic efficiency. It both complements and competes with public transit, but its influence on traffic congestions near city centers is still unclear. Regarding urban equity, ridesourcing further amplifies the issue of the digital divide and raises concerns over the issues of discrimination and data privacy and security. It is also hotly contested whether prosumers (producers/consumers) are exploited by the sharing economy platforms, whether ridesourcing drivers are reasonably compensated, and how to better protect on-demand workers’ rights. Even though ridesourcing has been promoting a green image, its true environmental impact has not been thoroughly investigated. According to the evidence reported in the literature so far, it is unlikely that ridesourcing will reduce private car ownership. Ridesourcing's impacts on energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are uncertain based on existing research. This paper outlines the danger of conceptual confusion and the methodological issues in the existing literature. Further research is sorely needed as the future of cities is indisputably tied to the sharing economy and its impacts on shared mobility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-104
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Future cities
  • On-demand work
  • Ridesourcing
  • Shared mobility
  • The sharing economy


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