Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Engineering Science (M.S.E.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

Steven E. Polzin, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Abdul R. Pinjari, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Xuehao Chu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Martin D. Hanlon, Ph.D.


TNC, Supplantment, Transit Agency, Ride-sourcing, Smartphone app


The quantity of cell phone applications or mobile apps have seen an upsurge at an exponential rate in under a decade. Many have been created for a variety of industries, including transportation. The advent and subsequent commercialized implementation of near-instant transport by a middleman-type of app is now known as a Transportation Network Company or TNC. Examples of the more renowned TNCs are Uber, Lyft and Sidecar.

In recent years, TNCs have cultivated a tremendous following, to the degree of taxicab desertion. Moreover, the massive success of TNCs led to expansion of its capacities into public transportation.

The TNC’s expeditious popularity has garnered the attention of government and transit agencies. Without fail, TNCs can complement, supplement or compete with transit. However, sparsely has there been any deep discussion about a TNC potentially supplanting transit. The aim of this paper is to show how TNCs could replace public transportation in the United States if subsidized at the same level of transit agencies. Austin, Texas was analyzed as the case study city. A comparison of subsidization between Austin’s transit agency: Cap Metro, the local TNCs, and on a national aggregate level was conducted. The evidence herein clearly shows that TNCs are highly competitive when in revenue service operating at full capacity, potentially replacing public transportation.