Masters Theses

Orcid ID


Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Civil Engineering

Major Professor

Candace E. Brakewood

Committee Members

Christopher R. Cherry, Lee D. Han


With companies like Uber and Lyft leading the way, ridesourcing has grown and continues to grow in popularity in the United States since its introduction just over ten years ago. While research on this new transportation mode has largely focused on national level trends and studies of large metropolitan areas, little has been written about its impacts in smaller and mid-sized cities and states. This paper aims to understand the socioeconomic characteristics and travel behavior trends of those using ridesourcing in less studied regions, using Tennessee as a case study. This thesis has three parts: a literature review of past research; a comparison of the demographics of ridesourcing users at the national, census division, and state levels based on the 2017 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS); and a comparison of different user groups within the state of Tennessee using survey data collected in three metropolitan regions in Tennessee: Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis. The results of the NHTS survey data analysis reveal some key differences in national/large city characteristics as compared to those found in the state level analysis, including the importance of gender and race. The subsequent survey data analysis revealed four distinct market segments: those who use ridesourcing in their own city, those who use ridesourcing only when traveling, those who use ridesourcing only with friends or family, and those who do not use ridesourcing. By understanding the differences between user locations and user types, better policies and regulations can be created to more efficiently and effectively harness the potential of this growing transportation mode.

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