DUI’s Drop In Silicon Valley

DUI’s Drop In Silicon Valley (And The Rest of California, Too) Thanks To Uber and Lyft

 

Some of California’s largest cities are seeing dramatically fewer arrests for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and many believe this to be directly related to the increase in the amount of people taking advantage of ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

 

According to information released by the University of California at Davis, DUI arrests have dropped by 32% in the San Diego community, 28% in the San Jose community, 26% in the Sacramento community, and 14% in LA, San Francisco/Oakland, and Silicon Valley compared to just 24 months ago.

 

We are seeing a decrease of more than 2400 arrests for DUIs occurring in this two-year block of time, and these types of arrests have dropped even more significantly in areas of California – like Silicon Valley – that were able to take advantage of upstart ridesharing services (Uber and Lyft) in 2009, compared to those that started to get the services in 2015.

 

Of course, drunk and impaired driving in the state of California is a major concern.

 

The amount of DUI fatalities in the state of California have increased by 16.3% from just 911 in the year 2015 to over 1050 in the year 2016. At the same time, drunk driving deaths fell by over 3.6% just as soon as Uber was able to begin operating in urban centers throughout the state of California. All of the major metropolitan areas, save San Francisco, have seen almost double-digit drops in the rate of DUIs since these ridesharing services were brought online.

 

UC Davis says that in Silicon Valley, the second most popular reason for opening up a ridesharing application is to call a car after they have been drinking. 33% of all bar patrons report taking advantage of ridesharing applications instead of sliding behind the wheel while impaired.

 

Silicon Valley is obviously the ancestral home of the two most popular ridesharing application and services in the world. Both Uber and Lyft got their start in Silicon Valley and continued to be improved and refined in the center for startups and technology.

 

It’s nice to see that they are working to improve their local community as best they can, making sure that their services aren’t just dependable in Silicon Valley and beyond but also making major inroads with marketing and advertising campaigns to get more people to choose the services when they have been out drinking.

 

The Amazing Silicon Valley

The overwhelming majority of big breakthroughs in the world of technology – especially on the consumer side of things – have all originated in one small community in California that has become world famous as the center of everything “geek”…

… We are talking of course about Silicon Valley.

For decades now, Silicon Valley has been the ultimate hub of technology, the place where everyone worth their salt in the tech world wants to work, and the place where investors flock when they are looking to get in on the ground floor of the next big thing. If you have a love of technology, are looking to break into the tech world in a big way, or want to become part of the companies and teams that are responsible for shaping our future, you’re going to want to get yourself to Silicon Valley ASAP.

A quick history of Silicon Valley

While you aren’t going to find the designation “Silicon Valley” on any maps of California, seemingly everyone in the technology world knows EXACTLY where it is – and it isn’t exactly all that hard to find. A moniker given to the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay area (part of Northern California), it encompasses the entirety of the Santa Clara Valley, half of the San Francisco Peninsula (the southern half), and parts of the East Bay region. Given its nickname because of the almost insane amount of silicon used in early microchips that were produced throughout this region, it has established itself as the home to almost all of the world’s best technology companies – thousands and thousands of them – including big-time giants like Google, Apple, and more.

The first few companies to “set up shop” were research companies dedicated to helping local universities like Stanford shape the future of technology, though plenty of venture capitalists and companies that worked as contractors to the US Department of Defense also helped to establish the early Silicon Valley. This all started to happen in the early 1950s through the 1970s, and then things started to shift towards the consumer focus electronics world. Companies like Apple quite literally grew up here, Google was born just down the road, and other major businesses like Oracle, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems all have deep roots in Silicon Valley in these early days.

Problems facing “The Valley” today

This is not to suggest that all is sunshine and roses in Silicon Valley today – nothing could be further from the truth.

Some of the biggest cornerstones of the Valley have been moving outwards – Microsoft jumped ship and went up to Seattle recently, Apple is building in Cupertino, and Google is trying to flex its muscle by always threatening to move somewhere a little bit more tax friendly – and it’s upsetting the apple cart, so to speak.

At the same time, the cost of living in nearby San Francisco has shot through the roof which has had a multi-pronged effect on the local community. People who own property and real estate (especially those that rent out their residences) have been cashing in big-time in the San Francisco “New Gold Rush”, while those that rented before are finding themselves pushed out in a major wave of gentrification that isn’t just sweeping a handful of neighborhoods – it’s taking over the entire city. Housing for the employees of these technological companies is also sparse, driving many to purchase property outside of the area, which in turn raises the property value of housing in cities such as Sacramento, Tracy, etc. This also leads to more commuters and more accidents, according to personal injury lawyers in Sacramento. Of course, with such a high concentration of many of the world’s most influential companies some are concerned that there is going to inevitably be collusion between these major players and a stifling in innovation may occur. This has almost always proven out to be completely unfounded – after all, many of these companies are built entirely on the back of innovation and are as competitive as any other – but it is still a reasonable concern.

The future of Silicon Valley

At the end of the day, the future of Silicon Valley is (quite literally) the future of the world. This is where almost all major technology breakthroughs are “born”, and likely will continue to be as long as it is considered that Nexus of the technology universe. If you’re looking to start up a technology company, work for an influential technology company, or want to invest in a technology company, Silicon Valley is everything that you’ve been searching for.

Getting around Silicon Valley

One of the major threats facing Silicon Valley today has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the recent government crackdown on technology privacy or encryption – we’re looking at you CISPA – but instead everything to do with the fact that public transportation in this region is so spotty. In an interesting turn of events, the overwhelming majority of innovators and startup founders that create big technology companies that eventually moved to the Valley almost always do so in major metropolitan areas and highly populated urban cities – New York, LA, Boston, Chicago, and so many international destinations – each of which are loaded with public transportation options.

However, when they get out to Silicon Valley, they find that things aren’t quite as effortless to maneuver as it was in say Cambridge (the original home of Facebook, for example). This has caused quite a bit of concern for the leaders of these major companies – especially companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple – and they have tried to put the pressure on local governments to build up the Caltrain and BART systems, though so far they haven’t had the kind of success that they were hoping for. In turn, these companies (especially the three we’ve mentioned above) have opted to go in the opposite direction. Rather than encourage their employees to move into San Francisco and then hope to carpool or take unreliable public and mass transit into work and then back out again, they’ve begun to build “walled gardens” for each and every one of their employees.

This isn’t at all that different from the early days of the Industrial Revolution. Henry Ford was considered a major innovator of his time to build up living spaces (row houses) for all of his employee’s right next to the factories and facilities where they worked – though he “stole” the idea from big industries like the mill industries that had been doing the same thing for some time. It’s interesting to see just how circular history can be sometimes, and a lot of it is happening in the Valley because of how unreliable mass transit can be. But if you’re getting ready to work for one of these companies, or just want to better understand how to visit them when you’re in the San Francisco area, here are a couple of options that you will have available to you.

Caltrain options are available

Unlike Northern Virginia (which built up a considerable amount of apartment buildings and office space all along their Metro transit lines to make things more convenient for businesses in DC, Baltimore, and the surrounding area), Silicon Valley has yet to embrace that kind of transformation – which is why Caltrain systems can be so spotty throughout the area. Sure, the “downtown” areas of San Francisco have significant Caltrain spots for employees and visitors to take advantage of, but once you get out into the outer reaches of Silicon Valley you’re going to have a much more challenging time getting yourself to or from work. This is especially true if the company you work for doesn’t provide shuttle buses (though many of them do).

It’s also important to remember that the Caltrain and BART systems do not extend out to Marin County. This is a major issue for those who reside in Marin County, since most work in San Francisco, and commute home.  Many  believe that has an effect of increasing the amount of individuals that drive intoxicated from San Francisco to Marin. The Caltrain tracks also aren’t electrified, the San Francisco terminal is about a mile short of major business districts, and rush hour is incredibly congested.

The BART system is almost as bad, and it doesn’t have the same kind of reach or penetration that the Caltrain system does.

The future of travel in Silicon Valley that the Caltrain

There is hope though. Most everyone has heard about Elon Musk’s dream of the “HyperLoop”, and while that is likely still some time away from becoming a reality the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s brand-new light rail system – or the plans for this brand-new system – has the opportunity to transform transportation throughout Silicon Valley once and for all.

This would finally connect the entire system from San Francisco to San Jose and everything in between, giving individuals the opportunity to take advantage of a lightning fast and reliable commuter system that can get them to and from work without any headache or hassle any longer. Hopefully America’s home for innovation can come up with something that works!