This time last year, a report commissioned by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio found that ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft were not the cause of a traffic increase in the city. The study cost $2 million to conduct and ultimately did not recommend putting a cap on “for-hire vehicles” at that point in time, which drew a protracted fight between de Blasio and Uber to a close, at least for the time being.
But in 2017, it appears Uber wants to provide more solutions than headaches for lawmakers with the rollout of Movement, a website that will make its traffic data available to anyone.
Uber has changed the way we think about the infrastructure within our cities. Rather than be seen as a global scapegoat for gridlocked traffic in metropolitan centers, with Movement, Uber will share data anonymously collected from more than 2 billion trips over the last six years.
“We’ve gotten consistent feedback from cities we partner with that access to our aggregated data will inform decisions about how to adapt existing infrastructure and invest in future solutions to make our cities more efficient,” the company explains in the new site’s FAQ section. “We hope Uber Movement can play a role in helping cities grow in a way that works for everyone.” Over the next several weeks, the data about traffic and transit patterns will become accessible to the public.
New York isn’t the only place where transportation startups have been the subject of intense scrutiny. Massachusetts, Illinois and Texas are only a handful of states that are currently working on legislation in response to concerns about rider safety (for example, requiring background checks of drivers) and the viability of incumbent taxi companies.