Ford, Uber, Lyft Join Urban Data-Sharing Project to Reduce Traffic and Pollution
The data trove will help cities make more informed decisions on the implementation of mobility services.
Ford, Uber, and Lyft will share data in an attempt to reduce traffic congestion and emissions in cities. The three companies agreed to join SharedStreets, a data clearinghouse focusing on transportation that combines data from public and private sources.
Created through a partnership between the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the Open Transport Partnership, with initial funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, SharedStreets is meant to provide city officials with a wider array of data for traffic planning. A specific goal is to make it easier for officials to integrate mobility services like ride-hailing.
According to Ford, the massive data trove will help cities make more informed decisions on the implementation of mobility services and, eventually, autonomous vehicles. The platform also provides mobility companies with a common standard for sharing data across all cities, where local requirements currently vary widely.
SharedStreets is already operating in 30 cities globally. Ford, Uber, and Lyft have agreed to provide datasets aimed at tackling specific problems. Ford plans to develop a universal data standard for real-time curb demand and availability. This is an important factor for ride-hailing services like the automaker's own Chariot shuttle service, where vehicles are constantly picking up and dropping off passengers.
Uber plans to release vehicle-speed data from cities it operates in, with the goal of helping to pinpoint where drivers tend to speed. Lyft will develop a framework for sharing curbside pickup and drop-off counts, so city officials can have a better idea of where for-hire vehicles are most in demand.
Data sharing can help build a bridge between cities and the privately-operated mobility services that use their streets. Uber has offered data to cities to lessen the impact of its various scandals. With New York City's cap on for-hire vehicles potentially setting a precedent, companies like Uber and Lyft have a strong incentive to cooperate with city governments. The same goes for Ford, which is experimenting with Chariot and other mobility services of its own.