Redefining Urban Mobility: The Impact of Ride-Sharing Apps on Lagos' Social Fabric

CoE-EDP, VisionRICoE-EDP, VisionRI | Updated: 11-06-2024 14:08 IST | Created: 11-06-2024 14:08 IST
Redefining Urban Mobility: The Impact of Ride-Sharing Apps on Lagos' Social Fabric
Rrepresentative image

A study by Chijioke Nwabueze from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria examines how ride-sharing apps like Uber and Bolt have transformed urban mobility in Lagos, Nigeria. The study explores the effects of these services on social relationships, economic structures, and cultural dynamics within the city. Lagos, a bustling metropolis, faces severe urban mobility challenges such as traffic congestion, inadequate public transportation, and poor traffic management. Traditional transportation modes struggle to cope with the rapidly growing population, leading to prolonged commuting times, increased air pollution, and economic strain.

Innovative Solutions for Urban Mobility

In response to these challenges, ride-sharing apps have emerged as innovative solutions. These apps offer an alternative means of transportation that potentially reshapes how people move around the city and interact with one another. The study uses a multifaceted approach, including participant observation and digital ethnography, to understand the sociological impacts of ride-sharing. It examines how these services influence societal structures, commuting patterns, and community dynamics.

Fostering Inclusivity and Community

Ride-sharing apps introduce a new element that crosses traditional socio-economic boundaries. They foster social interactions within shared vehicles, challenging existing social hierarchies. These services are inclusive, creating shared spaces accessible to a wide range of people. This inclusivity can break down barriers and foster a sense of community among passengers. However, the study also addresses the issue of equitable access to ride-sharing services, especially for marginalized communities. Factors such as affordability, geographical coverage, and digital access can create disparities in who can use these services.

Cultural and Social Resistance

Cultural and social resistance to ride-sharing is another important aspect explored in the paper. The introduction of ride-sharing disrupts traditional commuting patterns and community identities. There are concerns about losing communal values and social interactions that have historically been part of shared public transportation. Additionally, the reliance on technology and digital platforms raises issues of technological skepticism and data privacy.

Transforming Commuting Dynamics

The study finds that ride-sharing apps have significantly altered traditional commuting dynamics. Instead of impersonal journeys in crowded public spaces, ride-sharing offers a more personalized and shared experience. Commuters are no longer just passengers; they become active participants in a shared journey. This shift challenges the isolation often associated with traditional commuting. The shared nature of ride-sharing encourages spontaneous social interactions among passengers, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared experience.

The impact of ride-sharing extends beyond individual commuting experiences to influence community dynamics. Shared rides create temporary communities where diverse individuals come together. This challenges the conventional notion of communities being tied solely to geographical locations, introducing a more dynamic and transient sense of community. The use of mobile apps to request rides, coordinate with drivers, and share feedback integrates technology into daily commuting practices. This technological integration streamlines the process and influences how individuals navigate and perceive their urban environment.

However, the study also highlights challenges in ensuring equitable access to ride-sharing services. Affordability is a significant barrier, as not everyone can afford the cost of ride-sharing. Geographical disparities in service availability can also exclude economically disadvantaged areas. The digital divide, where access to smartphones and reliable internet is limited, further exacerbates disparities in access. Perceptions of safety and trust in digital platforms also influence ride-sharing utilization, with some individuals opting for traditional transportation due to concerns about safety and privacy.

Ride-Sharing into Lagos' Urban Mobility Framework

The research underscores the importance of addressing these challenges to ensure that ride-sharing contributes to inclusive urban mobility. Identifying and understanding the challenges faced by marginalized communities is crucial for developing targeted strategies that promote inclusivity. The paper concludes by emphasizing the need for policies and interventions that consider the sociological intricacies of Lagos. These should promote equitable access and address cultural and social dynamics to ensure that ride-sharing services are integrated smoothly into the urban fabric.

Ride-sharing apps have the potential to transform urban mobility in Lagos by fostering social interactions, challenging existing social hierarchies, and providing inclusive transportation solutions. However, addressing the challenges of equitable access, cultural resistance, and technological skepticism is essential for achieving this potential. The study calls for ongoing collaboration, adaptability, and a deep appreciation of the sociological complexities that shape urban mobility in Lagos.

  • Devdiscourse
Give Feedback