RSG249: David Zipper on Why Robotaxis Will be Even Worse Than Ridehail

Join Harry as he speaks with David Zipper, a visiting Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Taubman Center, about why robotaxis will be worse than ridehail (in his strong opinion).

David has written numerous articles on ridehail and now robotaxis and how they impact the economy and the environment.

Check out this episode where David and Harry discuss the downsides of robotaxis, and even ridehail, to give people more to consider.

Listen to RSG249 With David Zipper

Check us out on Apple Podcasts or Spotify! While you’re there, hit subscribe so you don’t miss our next episode drop.

Quick Takeaways

  • David Zipper doesn’t hold back when he says ridehail and robotaxis are not helping the environment; they are hurting it
    • Uber failed to help cities go green, and robotaxis will make it even worse
    • Robotaxis are just like Uber or Lyft, just without the driver
  • David calls robotaxis ‘ridehail on steroids’
    • When they work (they aren’t considered safe currently), they will increase the number of trips people take because of the convenience of not dealing with a human driver or driving themselves
    • They may even encourage people to move further away from urban life and take longer commutes because of the convenience
    • This will be terrible for the environment and be the opposite of the sustainability robotaxi companies claim
    • Robotaxis will only cause a larger urban footprint, more gridlock, and traffic
  • Robotaxis claim safety; however, these claims are not proven
    • There have been horrific accidents with robotaxis due to software error
  • Robotaxis lack the creativity and hustle human drivers in ridehails have
    • They won’t look for shortcuts or ways to save time, gas, and emissions because they aren’t humans ‘on the clock’
  • Robotaxis are currently highly subsidized, which means lower prices for riders, leading to more rides
    • The prices will eventually increase, just like ridehail rides did
  • Robotaxis may be more helpful in less congested (non-urban) areas where people with disabilities or a lack of transportation may benefit
    • Adding more traffic and congestion to urban areas, though, will only cause more problems
  • David is still looking for the benefits of robotaxis, as is Harry, who has invited robotaxi company owners on the podcast, but the invitation has yet to be accepted

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

RSG249: Watch The Podcast On YouTube

If you like videos better, watch our YouTube episode to learn more about what David Zipper says about robotaxis and the environment. While you’re there, hit subscribe!