Members of the Texas House Committee on Transportation on August 30 heard the latest on how states are shaping the policies that govern how new ride-hailing operations provide their on-demand services. Ginger Goodin, director of TTI’s Transportation Policy Research Center (PRC) offered a summary of the findings from Policy Implications of Transportation Network Companies, the PRC’s latest offering on the topic. Maarit Moran, an associate transportation researcher for TTI, served as the lead researcher on the effort.
Goodin told committee members that since 2010, a number of private companies have entered the transportation services market by offering new travel options that use digital technology to provide an on-demand and highly automated private ride service. The most well-known of the transportation network companies, or TNCs, as these companies are frequently classified, may be Uber and Lyft, although there are many companies operating in this arena. “Transportation network companies have expanded rapidly to cities worldwide,” she told the Committee. “However, they do not fit neatly within our current regulatory schemes.”
Goodin and Moran appeared before the committee at the invitation of Chairman Joe Pickett. Both Chairman Pickett and Rep. Chris Paddie complimented Goodin and Moran on the research, thanking them for the “really good information” contained in the report. Texas lawmakers have signaled their intention to focus on state-level TNC regulation when the Legislature convenes for its next Regular Session in January 2017. How they choose to address policy will be informed by the lessons learned from other states and cities.
Lawmakers have considered TNC legislation in most U.S. states. As of May 2016, 33 states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation to legalize and regulate the activity of TNCs. These laws address a range of issues including permits and fees, insurance and financial responsibility, driver and vehicle requirements, operational requirements, passenger protections, data reporting, and regulatory and rule-making authority.
A day after the Committee hearing, Moran and Goodin presented the research in more detail at a forum for Legislative staff members and the public in the State Capitol Extension Auditorium. Moran also fielded several questions on the findings and TTI’s plans for continued research on TNC policies and regulations in Texas and beyond.
The detail for each state is available on an interactive map developed by TTI: http://policy.tti.tamu.edu/technology/tnc-legislation/