Uber is offering the data generated by its ride-sharing app to urban planners and researchers, allowing them the opportunity to monitor and improve upon existing infrastructure. Named Uber Movement, the website offers data which has been aggregated into geographic zones, similar to those in use by transportation planners. The data is sourced from Uber trips in more than 450 cities. Planners using the tool will be able to access the data and explore zone-to-zone travel times at specific times of day, days of the week, and months – all of which could help cities improve traffic flow. Along with aggregation, anonymization is a factor – by grouping similar trips together, the site provides general trends for routes, without advising of a specific user’s route, destination, or departure point.
To date, Uber has provided planners in Washington D.C. and Sydney, Australia with access to the service and plans to extend the service globally, soon. The service will also be made available to the public in the coming months. Washington D.C. Mayor, Muriel Bowser, stated, “we want to employ as many data sources as possible to mitigate traffic congestion, improve infrastructure, and make our streets safer.”
“City planners face a myriad of challenges, and we hope to help tackle more of them over time,” said Uber head of transportation policy Jordan Gilbertson. “We’re excited to partner with city officials, urban planners and research organizations to continue building features that today’s transportation planners need.”