Uber Movement is Opening Up Access to Traffic Data
Driving from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’? Not sure how long it will take? Uber Movement can help.
Uber has developed a new tool and is opening up its traffic data to interested users. The online resource, called ‘Uber Movement’, will offer users the ability to track driving travel times.
Users will do this between any two places in a city, at any given time of the day.
The site is currently open to select planning agencies and researchers only, but it will be available to the general public in mid-February of this year.
What cities are covered? Movement currently offers traffic data for Manila, Sydney, and Washington D.C..
And while this is limited, Uber says it plans to add dozens of additional municipalities by the time the tool launches for general use.
Why is the famous ride sharing company sharing its data?
Uber says that it has created Movement in order to help urban centers with their city planning.
“By delivering these insights to cities, we can give back to the community,” says Andrew Salzberg, who is head of transportation policy at Uber.
So, it’s about giving- which is nice. But is it, really? Maybe not totally. Some are labeling the move as a peace offering.
Getting specific, Uber has refused to appease New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, in his data requests.
de Blasio wants that the company to share with the city the facts of when and where it drops off every rider in NYC, something Uber continues to refuse to do.
And so, perhaps Uber hopes that Movement will at least satisfy some political curiosity. It can give leaders a small taste of data for free, and potentially reduce the conflict that having Uber operate in some urban centers, has caused.
It’s a fact that the ride sharing service is, well, uber-useful for commuters looking for a cheaper ride, door-to-door, but taxi companies have suffered as it’s spread. And some believe that Uber legalizes the underground economy.
They see it as being a threat to “the laws of the land, the willingness or ability of governments to enforce those laws, and to the responsibility we all bear to pay our taxes to support the kind of society we want for ourselves and our families.“
Heavy. Movement isn’t going to change this viewpoint, of course. It could, however, flesh out the “good” some feel Uber is bringing to society.
Who Will Gain
At present, who is really going to gain from this info? It seems most likely to be commuters, and anyone moving around during the day by motor vehicle. Which is good.
We all know that rush hour is the busiest time of day for travel, but Uber Movement may help users streamline exactly when they should make their journeys across town. Power to the people. And hopefully with more to come.
Andrew Salzberg, Uber’s chief of transportation policy has stated that the company may add more capabilities to Movement as time goes on, but it just remains to be seen exactly what those will be.
Will users be able to access more data for a price, someday? Let’s wait and see.
Uber Movement will be available for general users in mid-February, 2016.