New Report on Sharing Economy Finds City Leaders Support Ridesharing, Are Concerned about Safety

Press Release
Press Release

A drone drops a package at your door. A driverless car takes you to work. What's powering #SharingCities?

Posted by National League of Cities on Wednesday, June 3, 2015


WASHINGTON - The growing sharing economy is impacting cities as innovative companies are providing improvements to service efficiency and on-demand information. The National League of Cities today released the first national quantitative survey of local elected officials' views on the sharing economy. The report, City Survey on the Sharing Economy: Shifting Perceptions of Collaborative Consumption, found that 71 percent of cities surveyed are supportive of growth in the sharing economy - particularly with ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft - but many are concerned about the sharing economy's impact on public safety. On the whole, cities want to encourage economic development and accommodate the services their constituents want. The report was released in conjunction with an animated video: "Cities, The Sharing Economy, and What's Next."

"Cities make the sharing economy work," said National League of Cities President Ralph Becker, mayor, Salt Lake City. "It's clear that city leaders understand that their communities demand the innovative services provided by the sharing economy."

The survey found that city leaders are open to integrating sharing economy services more fully within their communities - and they want to capitalize on this opportunity. When asked to identify the greatest benefit of the sharing economy, 22 percent of city leaders identified improved services, 20 percent identified increased economic activity, and 16 percent identified increased entrepreneurial activity.  

At the same time, the survey found that cities do have concerns with the sharing economy. By a large margin, 61 percent of city leaders were most concerned with public safety, specifically identifying the lack of comparable insurance coupled with general safety concerns. Other areas of concern included the protection of traditional service providers and industry participants (10 percent) and non-compliance with current standards (9 percent).

Sharing Economy

Many cities are working through these challenges because they want to reflect resident demands and benefit from the sharing economy's economic impact. However, there's a high degree of variation in city policies that regulate the sharing economy, and nearly 60 percent of cities don't regulate ridesharing or homesharing at all. The majority of respondents acknowledged the importance of developing new policies on the sharing economy, and placed ridesharing front and center as the top priority in the policy arena.

Sharing Economy  

"The sharing economy offers great promise for America's cities," commented Brooks Rainwater, director of City Solutions and Applied Research at the National League of Cities. "Our survey shows that city leaders are becoming better prepared to successfully navigate the ever-changing developments that continue to change the course of our shared urban environments."  

City Survey on the Sharing Economy: Shifting Perceptions of Collaborative Consumption builds on NLC's work to help city leaders understand and benefit from the sharing economy.       

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.    

Related Topics