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Uber to release data for transport planning

Traffic congestion roads 3x2

Uber will be publishing some of its data from its UK operations to help engineers better plan transport solutions in cities ‘in a matter of months’.

The free service – Uber Movement – has already been launched in selected key cities in the US and will soon be available with UK specific data.

Speaking at the Metrorail Congress in London, Uber head of public policy Andy Byrne said over the years Uber had been operational, it had learnt that everyone was ‘trying to crack the same problems’ – how to plan commuting and how best to invest in new infrastructure.

“We’ve received consistent feedback that access to our aggregated data can give informed decisions about how to best adapt existing infrastructure and invest in future solutions and make cities more efficient,” said Byrne.

He said there had been a huge demand from people to gain access to its aggregated data on how people were travelling in different ways and what the potential demand for travel was.

As an add on, he said in the relatively near future, new functions would also give a greater depth of information available.

“In the near future, we’ll be able to add features so engineers can see where pot holes are or whether traffic lights are configured correctly.

“By using every single car and the phones in them as a sensor and discrete data.”

In the US the company has already teamed up with Metrorail in Washington DC to co-ordinate travel data.

“In the US we’ve launched a number of partnerships to combine strengths and share objectives around lower congestion and better access to public transport,” he said.

“With Metrorail we’ve teamed up with them to see when its peaks and troughs are, where the individuals are travelling from and what their travel patterns are to help make the travel to the first mile of the station more efficient.”

In another US example he said in New Jersey it had a new partnership with the local authority to help provide subsidised transport to the stations for the price of an all day parking permit to avoid the need for a car park.

Byrne said this publication fitted into the company’s new vision, saying it had started off as a car hailing app, but it was now a way of solving some of the urban transport problems cities faced including having too many cars on roads.

“We believe Uber is part of a broad transport mix that can help cut congestion, pollution and parking as well as improve access to public transport by competing with individual car ownership.

“We are building a case for an individual not to need to own a car.”

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