Uber Technologies is offering data from trips on its ride-hailing platform to city officials, planners and policymakers to help them better understand traffic patterns and improve investments in infrastructure.
The move will likely win Uber goodwill with city officials, even as the company has resisted other bids for data by some cities. New York, for example, wants to collect trip records from vehicles on hire to monitor adherence to driver fatigue regulations, which Uber has rejected citing individual privacy issues.
Some of the data collected by Uber over 2 billion trips across 450 cities will be provided under the new program, called Movement. However, the data will be “anonymized and aggregated into the same types of geographic zones that transportation planners use to evaluate which parts of cities need expanded infrastructure, like Census Tracts and Traffic Analysis Zones (TAZs),” Jordan Gilbertson, Uber’s product manager and Andrew Salzberg, head of transportation policy, wrote in a blog post Sunday.
Other ride-hailing companies have also offered data to planners. Cooperation with city planners could ensure that the ride-hailing concept gets more firmly entrenched in urban transport planning.
Easy Taxi, which started operations in Latin America, Grab in Southeast Asia and French operator Le.Taxi in December joined a partnership with the World Bank and other organizations to make traffic data derived from their drivers’ GPS streams available under an open data license.
Uber has set up a website for providing the information.