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The Taxi: Friend or Foe? Understanding Planners' Perceptions of the Taxi Industry


The story of the taxi in the system of urban mobility is a story of so much unmet potential: There are many opportunities for taxis to play a much larger role in urban mobility, and yet, transportation planners have by and large overlooked these opportunities in practice. In this thesis, I examine whether perceptions--internalized and likely unexamined assumptions about the taxi, largely false--are to blame. I highlight seven commonly held misconceptions about the taxi, and survey a sample of 133 transportation planners to gauge the extent to which these misconceptions are held to be true. The results of the survey at least partially confirm the hypothesis. Taxis appear to be viewed as neither friend nor foe: an isolated industry divorced from transportation concerns, rather than a true partner in a comprehensive system of urban mobility.

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