Uber previously released to certain municipalities a veritable treasure trove of data to help city governments and city planners improve traffic conditions and commutes. After that initial debut, which was exclusive to urban planners, Uber has now officially set Uber Movement live for the general public.
“We don’t manage streets. We don’t plan infrastructure,” said Andrew Salzberg, Uber’s chief of transportation policy. “So why have this stuff bottled up when it can provide immense value to the cities we’re working in?” Noting that the company is collecting a “constant stream of data,” Salzberg added, “Some of this data is treated as digital exhaust, when in fact it’s immensely valuable.”
Uber isn’t the only company to be sharing what it knows with governments. Waze has a “Connected Citizens” program that provides city officials with data they need in exchange for early notice of construction and road closures to add to its maps. And Strava, the cycling app, lets cities know where residents like to bike.
But when it comes to certain valuable information, it’s unclear just how much Uber, or any of these companies, are willing to divulge at this point.
“I think cities need to be very clear about what they want,” Gabe Klein, a former head of the Detroit Department of Transportation, told the Washington Post.
Update: Uber Movement has now been made available to the public in some cities.
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