Ride-hailing giant Uber today launched a new platform called the Uber Movement, which offers access to traffic flow data in cities where the company operates, starting from Manila, Sydney, and Washington, D.C.
With the goal to help city planners and researchers improve urban mobility, the platform shares aggregated and anonymised data on various traffic-related issue such as travel times.
According to a report by Techcrunch, users can “adjust things like time of day, day of week and zones to call up Uber’s data for that specific point or range” and download the data “both with existing time series charts and in raw format for inputting into their own models.”
Uber has also been reported to release access to the data as an API in the future.
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The platform is targetting city officials, planners and policy makers, and the general public, with early access being given to partner organisations.
According to an official statement, Uber is gradually rolling out access for potential users in the “weeks ahead.”
The company explained that the project hopes to play a role in helping cities grow “in a way that works for everyone.”
“Over the past six and a half years, we’ve learned a lot about the future of urban mobility and what it means for cities and the people who live in them. We’ve gotten consistent feedback from cities we partner with that access to our aggregated data will inform decisions about how to adapt existing infrastructure and invest in future solutions to make our cities more efficient,” it said.
However, as Bloomberg has reported, the platform does not provide the exact information that officials are looking for, at least in the US.
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New York City’s transportation regulator expects access to “more granular data” that would allow it to analyse driver fatigue or illegal activity. Uber and its competitor Lyft fight back by raising concerns of possible invasion of privacy.
Uber’s international competitors such as Easy Taxi, Grab, and Le Taxi have also been working with the World Bank to publish traffic information from their drivers as part of the Open Transport Partnership.