Uber makes data available to city planners

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Wednesday, 11 January, 2017

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Ride-hailing service Uber plans to make it easier for cities to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion by releasing its vast trove of travel data for public use.

Uber will collate GPS data from the hundreds of thousands of Uber vehicles on the roads in more than 450 cities and release it on a new dedicated website.

The company is already using this data to reliably estimate how long an Uber ride will take, and city planners will be able to take advantage of the same information to adjust how they approach road extensions, anti-congestion measures and maintenance.

Data will be anonymised and aggregated into the same type of geographic zones already used by transport planners to evaluate where to expand road infrastructure.

Planners will be able to use the transport data to compare traffic flows at different times of day or days of the year, as well as during times such as major events or road closures.

Uber announced it plans to start inviting planning agencies and researchers to use the Movement data in the weeks ahead, and soon intends to make the site available to the public.

The company is also working with urban planning organisations in multiple parts of the world, including Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA), to build capabilities transportation planners need.

In the case of IPA, Uber helped the think tank organisation develop the new IPA Transport Metric, calculated entirely from Uber Movement data, used to monitor the impact of planning and infrastructure decisions on real journey times in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane.

Image courtesy of Mack Male under CC

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