Uber has launched a data dashboard called Uber Movement, which will share anonymised GPS data and traffic information collected from over two billion Uber trips with the aim of, among others, helping city planners identify trouble spots and keep the traffic flowing.
The service is initially available in Washington, DC (USA), Manila (Philippines) and Sydney (Australia) but the company has said that they will be "gradually rolling out Movement to everyone" in the coming weeks.
Source: Uber Movement
Although the data will be released publicly, no rider details will be shared. The data is taken from historical data collected through the app – routes taken, and how long it takes to travel between various areas in different cities.
This move comes as Uber faces legislative challenges to its self-driving car project in California, which led to them transferring the pilot project to Arizona. The launch of the data dashboard appears to be an attempt to leverage the company's data to initiate conversations with city officials around self-driving cars.
Uber has had some conflicts with municipal authorities around the world, whether it be their drivers not having licenses to operate cabs, or whether or not they should be registered as permanent workers. As such, Uber Movement may be seen as the San Francisco company extending an olive branch to policy makers and looking to work with them and hopefully ease the tension it has previously experienced in operating in some cities.
This treasure trove of data will likely assist everyone in understanding traffic and planning our lives better, and we look forward to seeing how local authorities in Afrikan cities where Uber is present will use it.