January 9, 2017
Uber has launched a new tool to make available its sizeable trove of anonymous customer data in a bid to “improve urban planning around the world.”
Dubbed Movement, the website offers something for everyone from city officials and planners to the general public. For instance, users of the tool can learn more about travel times by finding patterns and analyzing the impact of rush hours, events and road closures in cities around the globe.
It has been suggested that Movement is, at least partly, an attempt to pacify officials in the cities in which it offers its services. As the New York Times points out, Uber seems to find city regulations of little consequence, often leaving “city officials scramble to keep up with the company’s rapid deployment and surging popularity.”
Movement, which will roll out to everyone in the coming weeks, could well play a key roll in city governments’ decisions on its infrastructure investments — if city officials decide the tool is of use, that is.
“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,” Uber said. “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.”
That Uber would make the move to become a data provider is not terribly surprising. The data will also aid Uber as it continues its push to become a key player in the autonomous car market. The high-tech transportation company has its autonomous vehicles on the road in Pittsburgh, where its Advanced Technologies Center (ATC) is located. The trials, which began last May, use hybrid Ford Fusions outfitted with sensors.