Uber is sharing curbside data with cities
As part of Uber’s image redemption, the company has joined groups like, say, the International Association of Public Transport to improve relations with the public and civic administrations. And while the ride-hailing company has had poor relationships with some cities, now it will share some of its vast street-and-curbside data with civic governments, whose own road records can be split up or out-of-date.
This is more than travel distance data, which Uber started offering freely in January. Last week the company jumped on board the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) project SharedStreets, a data-sharing project that aims to help cities understand curb traffic and how to plan around it. For now, it’s volunteering information on Washington, DC’s roads.
There are promising applications of SharedStreets’ data — not least of which is establishing standards for curbs, traffic speeds, transit data and formats making it easier to share information between individuals and agencies, wrote Wired. Better still, it’s all in SharedStreets’ hands, a supposedly non-partisan third party that won’t favor either private companies or city agencies.
That may comfort the former to share their information with an intermediary, which can process and provide it to civic bodies, but SharedStreets isn’t the only curb data game in town. Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs introduced its own platform Coord, which offered a free sample of its services to help individuals and businesses.