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Uber Not to Blame for Rise in Manhattan Traffic Congestion, Report Says

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While app-based car services like Uber had contributed to overall traffic in Manhattan, a report said, they “did not drive the recent increase in congestion.” Credit Richard Perry/The New York Times

New York City released a long-awaited report on Friday that concluded that Uber and other ride-hailing services were not responsible for a recent increase in traffic congestion in Manhattan.

The report, based on a study conducted after a clash last year betwen Uber and Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, over Mr. de Blasio’s plan to impose a cap on the number of for-hire vehicles operating on city streets, recommended against enacting such a limit.

App-based services like Uber had contributed to overall congestion, the report said, but “did not drive the recent increase in congestion” in the city’s central business district. The increase in trips by such services was largely offset by a decrease in trips by yellow taxis in the same area, the study said.

The traffic study, which the city said cost about $ 2 million, was to be completed by the end of November. City officials said over the summer that they believed Uber and services like it might have worsened traffic congestion in the city.

The study offered a series of recommendations, including cracking down on illegal street hails and ensuring that riders did not face “predatory pricing.”

Lower traffic speeds in the core of Manhattan, the study said, were “driven primarily by increased freight movement, construction activity and population growth.”

In a statement, Peter Kadushin, a spokesman for the mayor, said: “We are pleased to release the findings of our study and look forward to continued work with the City Council and industry partners to create comprehensive proposals to address accessibility, consumer and employee safety, mobility and securing support for our public transit system.”

Around the time that the city released the study, the City Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, a Democrat, announced that the council would take up legislation to reform the taxi and for-hire vehicle industries.

After tensions flared over the de Blasio administratoin’s proposal to cap the number Uber vehicles, the city agreed to set aside that idea until the traffic study had been completed. As part of the agreement, Uber shared additional data with the city about trips made by its drivers.

Josh Mohrer, general manager for Uber New York, said in a statement that the company supported several of the proposals presented on Friday. “We will be reviewing the policy ideas,” he said, “and hope to work with the de Blasio administration and the City Council on implementing many of them.”

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