US-based ride share giant Uber will release the traffic and mobility data gathered by its drivers and riders for the first time. The public and other traffic governing bodies have been demanding Uber’s data for years, just like Taxi’s are required to do, but the company has always refused.
The data, which shows anonymized travel times between points in cities, will be available on a public website called Uber Movement.
Uber says it will first invite planning agencies and researchers to access the information and then make the website free to the public. The first cities will be Washington D.C., Manila in the Philipines and Sydney, Australia.
The Uber data will give cities a low-cost way to do high-resolution travel time analysis. Robust traffic data of the sort needed by planners is often either expensive or out-of-date.
While the data isn’t comprehensive enough to allow city planners to rely solely on it, it will be helpful. It also should be a boost to public engagement with planners, Boston’s chief information officer, Jascha Franklin-Hodge told USA Today.
“This gives people tools to ask us questions. That’s really powerful. We believe in having an informed public and having conversations that are rooted in facts, so the more of facts that are available, the better,” he said.