Is your city transportation-friendly?
A new interactive scorecard, created by the R Street Institute, grades 50 cities on their regulatory openness toward car services.
The report seeks to identify whether cities encourage competition in the transportation market.
Andrew Moylan, senior fellow at the R Street Institute, said the scorecard provides a snapshot of the current regulatory climates in transportation markets across the nation.
“This is a fast-developing policy area,” said Moylan. “We wanted to put together a comprehensive analysis of what transportation regulations look like nationwide.”
The report highlights specific frameworks that measure the burden of regulations on taxis, limousines and ridesharing services.
The grade for each city is based on a score of 100. The report added or deducted points based on insurance costs, fleet restrictions and hostile regulations in each market.
Washington, D.C., received the highest score nationwide, in part because of recent legislation that provided a legal foundation for ridesharing services to operate.
Moylan said Washington’s recent legislation could be a nationwide model, protecting consumer safety and encouraging competition.
“People tend to reach for solutions that are already on the shelf,” said Moylan. “This is not an issue that is going away. We hope to promote some of the positive responses, like that of Washington, D.C.”
Las Vegas falls at the bottom of the scorecard in large part because of its hostile regulatory climate for new ridesharing services.
In recent weeks, Uber’s entrance into the Las Vegas transportation market has received national attention. Last month, Uber was issued a restraining order that would have temporarily barred the company from operating in Las Vegas.
Teri Williams, public information officer for the Nevada State Department of Business & Industry, said current tension between taxi and ridesharing services is not a matter of competition, but of law.
“Any entity that wants to come into the state to provide a for-hire transportation service is welcome to do so, as long as they are able to take the necessary steps to comply with the laws,” said Williams.
The future of competition in the transportation industry is dependent on the legal framework that regulates the services, Moylan said.
“We are going to see more and more battles in cities across the country,” he said. “Hopefully, the trend will move in favor of open regulatory climates for all these services.”
Jason Snead, research associate at The Heritage Foundation, said these legal battles provide a silver lining for innovators trying to bring new services into the market.
“This report makes clear how critical innovation is for the transportation sector,” said Snead. “But the bottom line is that innovation is pointless if governments use their regulatory power to kill off competition.”
Disclosure: An executive of Heritage Action for America, a sister organization of The Heritage Foundation, is married to an executive of Uber.