back to article Uber's Movement dumps data on city planners

Uber, which has been fighting to withhold ride destination data from New York City, on Sunday threw municipal governments a bone with a service called Movement. Movement aims to provide driving data to urban planners so local transportation systems can be optimized to operate more efficiently, a challenge that increases as …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big city slicker.

    This data is total trash for big cities, well, outside of it being yet another government spy tool. All this data is already known in big cities and has been for decades, because human expansion is only minimal at best. Want to know how long it takes driving the limit to get fron 32nd to 78th? Ask a taxi driver or bus driver. Want to know how long it takes in an emergency? Ask a police driver, firefighter or ambulance driver. For rural areas the data could help, if those rural areas have never had cops, taxis, firefighters, buses or ambulances. If they don't have those established, then it's real simple for developers (x+y simple).

    This data is a spy tool. Not excusing Uber, but stepping back out of the box and realizing they're even asking for the data at all reveals the truth.

    1. Joe 59
      IT Angle

      Re: Big city slicker.

      The cities have no idea how long trips take. They can't programatically ask cops and firehighters or cabbies how long these things take. And they can't rely on word of mouth to plan or enhance service.

      The only sensor data they have today is for magnetic and acoustic sensors placed at intersections, and the occasional pressure sensor traffic counter. Some have cameras, but not many. They can't use that data to determine if a cab went from Foo to Bar, only how many tires rolled over Foo and Bar or past the camera.

      This data from Uber is a gold mine, couple the data from Uber to the pressure sensor data, and you have real insight on volume, origins, destinations, and travel times.

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Big city slicker.

        They probably have a good idea in the UK, with ANPR cameras so prevalent & that movement data stored essentially forever (blatant invasion of privacy, just what the UK gov loves).

    2. Thomas 6

      Re: Big city slicker.

      "Want to know how long it takes driving the limit to get fron 32nd to 78th? Ask a taxi driver..."

      Erm, isn't that what they'd be doing by looking at the this?

  2. Derek Jones

    The authors unquestioning copying of Uber press releases needs to be tempered with som background reading:

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old ploy, look over here, this is great, look here, yes here...

    Meanwhile nobody looks over there where the bad stuff happens.

    The definition of an Uber driver is a lemming. A hard toiling worker drone helping build a company that is of little present benefit to them and one that will push them over the cliff when a self driving car is available, thus depriving them of any future benefit too.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    that will push them over the cliff when a self driving car is available, thus depriving them of any future benefit too.

    True. But no different to Amazon who would love to automate picking and delivery. Or Apple and Samsung who would be happy to use robots for assembly. Or IBM, HP and others who would automate white collar jobs. Or utilities who would love to automate call centres and sack all the people.

    None of this will change unless customers want to pay extra for a (genuine) human service. Outside of a few artisan products, the evidence is that people want to commoditise their purchases, and simply buy the cheapest that has a brand and spec they like.

    1. Craig 2

      Eaxctly... Why did we ever bother training horses when we knew something better would come along eventually? Why buy any technology when it will be twice as good and half price next year?

      I'll wager all current Uber drivers will be retired well before self-driving cars become commonplace. Cars on public roads has to be the single hardest problem to solve compared to all other forms of transport such as trams, trains, planes and ships. It's just the public would gasp in horror at the thought of even a train without a driver.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's just the public would gasp in horror at the thought of even a train without a driver.

        Errrrmm, where do I start? Perhaps at Bank station on the underground in London. Get the DLR, take the front carriage, front seats, and journey to Cutty Sark. Look at the ship, come back via river clipper. Its a bloody good day out. Make sure you aren't driving a car later, have a few refreshment stops en route, and celebrate how historic, how bloody impressive our capital city is - you'll be wrapping yourself up in a Union Jack at the end of the day.

        And the point is that the DLR trains are happily driverless. You sit in the front, you are in the front, looking out the windows as you speed through the tunnels, overground, and the big dipper at Canary Wharf. I've taken foreign colleagues on this journey, from places where we snivel at their supposed talent in public transport, yet they've been blown away by the DLR experience.

  5. Oengus

    Sell your soul

    "at a very low monetary cost."

    You don't have to give us money. Just allow us to conduct our business without any pesky red tape, rules and regulations. Then we will give all the data we want you to have (not all of the data we have and not necessarily all the data you asked for).

  6. Velv

    Sample Bias

    I'm quite sure the data has some value, however the type of travel (I.e. A paid for journey) is only one type of journey and therefore the result are likely to be skewed.

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