Competition 2016: Shortlisted in the category Research

Access to Taxicabs for Unbanked Households: An Exploratory Analysis in New York City

Columbia University, 2016
Area Mobility Planning Civic Social Justice Medium Information Visualization Type Research

Taxicabs are a critical aspect of the public transit system in New York City. Ubiquitous yellow cabs are as iconic as the city?s subway system, and the city recently added green taxicabs to improve taxi service in areas outside of the central business districts and airports. In this paper we use multiple datasets to explore taxicab fare payments by neighborhood and examine how paid taxicab fares are associated with use of conventional banking services. There are clear spatial dimensions of the propensity of riders to pay cash, and we find that both immigrant status and being ?unbanked? are strong predictors of cash transactions. These results have implications for local regulations of the for-hire vehicle industry, particularly in the context of the rapid growth of services that require credit cards. At the very least, existing and new providers of transit services must consider access to mainstream financial products as part of their equity analyses.


  • Saldarriaga, Juan Francisco Columbia University
  • King, David Arizona State University