Uber opens up Paris travel database to help city planners
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Uber [UBER.UL] said on Friday it would open up its trove of travel data in Paris to the public to help city officials and urban planners better understand transportation needs, as the company seeks to woo national authorities.
The U.S. ride-hailing app collects huge amounts of data from the billions of trips taken by customers which it uses to improve its services and has recently started to make it available for a number of cities including Washington D.C., Sydney and Boston.
“We get asked all the time ‘Is there any way you can share more data? We’d love to see where people are traveling in our city’,” Adam Gromis, who is responsible for environmental sustainability at Uber, told Reuters.
The service, called Uber Movement, shows how long it takes to make a journey between two points in a city at different times of the day.
Uber is making the data available via a free website which can be accessed by anyone with an Uber account, but it is aimed particularly at city planners. (movement.uber.com)
To respect users’ privacy, Uber Movement uses only aggregated anonymised data.
Uber, which launched in Paris in 2011, has had a rocky relationship with regulators across Europe who have accused it of flouting their traditional licensing rules.
Protests by taxi drivers against the smartphone app turned violent in 2015 when Paris cabbies overturned cars and burned tyres.
Uber has suffered a tumultuous few months that led to former CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick being forced out after a series of boardroom controversies and regulatory battles in a number of U.S. states and around the world.
Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has struck a less confrontational approach than his predecessor – particularly in London where Uber is challenging a decision by the transport regulator to strip it of its operating license in the city.
“As a technology company we can play a role in helping cities make data-driven decisions for the benefit of the environment and its citizens,” Alexandre Droulers, Uber’s general manager for new mobility in western Europe, said.
Transport planning usually relies on expensive household travel surveys which are conducted on average every 10 years in the Paris region, making Uber’s data a lot more up to date.
Reporting by Julia Fioretti; Editing by Adrian Croft