Ford, Uber and Lyft pool traffic data in open mobility platform for smart city planners
Ford, Uber and Lyft have agreed to pool their road traffic data in an open platform available to public and private sector companies to improve mobility in and around cities.
The data platform, called SharedStreets, is designed to make it easier for the private sector to work with cities on traffic management. Ford, Uber and Lyft said their data will go to reduce traffic emissions, improve traffic flow, and prevent traffic accidents.
SharedStreets works as a clearing house for data collected by transportation providers, private companies, and government agencies, and a data hub for analysis, traffic planning and new technologies. It gives cities greater access to road traffic data, allowing them to make better planning and investment decisions as shared and autonomous mobility services start to launch.
Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, and developed by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the Open Transport Partnership, the platform claims to overcome legal, regulatory and technological barriers between the public and private sectors by translating ad hoc data sources into a common language for the first time.
Six cities have so far participated in pilots around the SharedStreets platform. Thirty cities are engaged in the initiative.
As part of the new agreement, Ford will help develop a universal data standard for real-time ‘curb demand and availability’ to help cities price and manage curb space in real-time, for the first time. It will also provide a down payment on a “global, comprehensive” roadway pricing mechanism cities can use to encourage better transport choices, road design, and carbon emissions.
Meanwhile, Uber will help to produce the “first-ever freely available global” data set of vehicle driving speeds, based on its taxi data from around the world, to be made available in its open-source Kepler.gl tool. The idea is to identify where people are driving dangerously, to inform the work of city planners.
Lyft will work with Uber to develop its early work on a framework for sharing curb-side pick-up/drop-off counts. It will also collaborate on a model for providing anonymised, aggregated data about taxi usage to show areas of high demand, and spin-off applications for more efficient mobility services.
Jim Hackett, chief executive of Ford, said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for business and government to work together to rethink transportation. Collaborating through initiatives such as Shared Streets will enable us to use vehicles, road systems and data together to create a new roadmap for mobility. We are working toward a future where all cities are smart and curb space is actively managed, increasing efficiency and safety, while reducing driver stress and pollution.”
Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive of Uber, said: “The private and public sectors need to come together and collaborate on ways to create smarter, safer and more efficient transportation systems. It’s the responsibility of companies like ours to step up and support cities in every way we can –whether that’s through data sharing, urban planning research, funding for nonprofits, or even through the introduction of new and more efficient forms of transportation like electric bicycles.”
John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft, said: “We are committed to partnering with cities and data-driven decision making to design streets that provide safe and accessible transportation for everyone. We look forward to collaborating with regulators to expand affordable mobility options, taking cars off the road and reducing congestion, and ultimately reshaping cities around people – not cars.”