LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Sharing transportation big data to achieve public and private objectives

Data philanthropy was what UN Global Pulse came up with as a foundation for private entities donating data for public services. But now Uber has come up with another story.

The site, which Uber will invite planning agencies and researchers to visit in the coming weeks, will allow outsiders to study traffic patterns and speeds across cities using data collected by tens of thousands of Uber vehicles. Users can use Movement to compare average trip times across certain points in cities and see what effect something like a baseball game might have on traffic patterns. Eventually, the company plans to make Movement available to the general public.

If urban planners embrace the data, that could work toward a future Uber has long dreamed of, one in which the company’s transportation options are woven into municipal planning.

“Our relationships with cities have typically been uneven, but there are a lot of places around the world where Uber and the cities we operate in have the same goals,” Andrew Salzberg, head of transportation policy at Uber, said in an interview. “We operate better in a world that has policy grounded on data.”

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