If you’re Uber, you’ve pissed off a lot of cities by disrupting the status quo. So what better way to back in the good books, than provide cities with the data they so dearly need, traffic data. While we know city congestion is a massive problem in ever major city around the globe, the solution is not an easy one, but will only ever arrive with the right data set.
The government doesn’t have fleets of vehicles at the scale necessary to collect this data and a service like Uber is perfectly positioned to provide it.
When it comes to planing and prioritising infrastructure spending, it’d be awfully nice for a planning minister to be in front of a dataset that demonstrated the growth over time of a particular route compared to others. Overlay this with peak traffic loads at specific times of the day and accommodating for differences for weather and annual events. This would allow you to spend money upgrading roads in areas of highest demand, making sure you get the best value for money for your infrastructure spend.
The data that powers this is the Uber app that runs inside every Uber and tracks the pickup, dropoff locations as well as the GPS coordinates of the route taken. This data is valuable for Uber, but incredibly valuable for cities and in an ideal world, all our connected cars of the future would leverage and contribute to this growing dataset and dynamically route you the fastest way through the city. This would require on-board navigation providers (increasingly powered by Android Auto and Apple CarPlay) should also get on-board, rather than building their own.
Of course in terms of privacy, you need not worry as the power of this data is in the aggregate, not the individual, so who took the trip is never included.