The taxi-bothering service looks to extend an olive branch to authorities
Uber is to make its travel data available to city authorities via a site public called Uber Movement, which offers anonymised data information from many of the cities where Uber has a presence.
The data and Uber Movement can be used to analyse traffic flow by showing the average travel times between areas in cities as well as provide historical travel data which can be used to aid the work of planning authorities.
Uber opens data
The move to create Uber Movement appears to be Uber’s efforts to extend an olive branch to authorities. The company has clashed with numerous governments and regulators around the world over the disruptive service it provides and reluctance to share its travel data with authorities and regulators due to citing reasons over user privacy.
Uber has already touted early partnerships with city authorities including Washington DC.
“We’re excited to be one of the early partners with Uber on this new platform. We want to employ as many data sources as possible to mitigate traffic congestion, improve infrastructure, and make our streets safer for every visitor and resident in the nation’s capital,” said DC’s Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Uber is convinced it can build upon this and benefit other cities: “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. We hope Uber Movement can play a role in helping cities grow in a way that works for everyone.”
At the same time Uber is promising to protect its user privacy, and likely avoid the attention of data regulators, by anonymising the data and providing it in aggregated form so that no identifying data or user behaviour will be surfaced.
Uber has already established its self as ‘the world’s biggest taxi company that owns no taxis’, becoming a clichéd example of the disruption digital companies can have, but with Movement it could establish itself as a player in the world of big data and potentially become part of the ecosystem of future smart cities.