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A Regression Model Of The Number Of Taxicabs In U.S. Cities

In cities that control the number of taxicabs by law or regulation, setting the number of cabs is one of the most important decisions made by taxicab regulators and elected officials. Licensing either too many or too few cabs can have serious deleterious effects on the availability and quality of service and the economic viability of the taxi business. Yet local officials often have difficulty quantifying the demand for taxi service or tracking changes in demand.

This study identifies primary factors related to demand for taxicab service in the U.S. Regression modeling of the number of cabs in 118 U.S. cities finds that most of the variation in the number of taxis can be explained by (1) the number of workers commuting by subway; (2) the number of households with no vehicles available; and (3) the number of airport taxi trips.

Taxicab regulators can use results from the model for benchmarking purposes. The model can identify peer cities that regulators can then, through additional analysis, compare with their own city or county. Model results can also be used to guide regulators in selecting variables for a time-series model of taxi demand in their jurisdiction, which in turn can provide an objective basis for assessing changes in demand for service and the need for additional taxicabs.

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