Uber strikes deal to share its data with city planners

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Aaron Souppouris
January 13th, 2015
In this article: boston, smart city data, uber
Uber strikes deal to share its data with city planners

Privacy issues over abuse of its "God View" customer-tracking app has led to a difficult few months for Uber. With that in mind, a deal to share passenger data might not seem like a great move, but that's exactly what Uber has just announced. In a blog post, the car-booking service explains that it's to begin sharing certain ride data with the city of Boston.

Uber says the data will be stripped of any identifiable information, including individuals' names and addresses. What will actually be shared? Broadly speaking, the Uber-equivalent of anonymous metadata. Instead of addresses, Uber will share the ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) the trip started and ended in. ZCTA is a slightly broader metric than ZIPs, with roughly 32,000 (versus 42,000) covering the entire country. Also shared will be the distance traveled in miles, the time and date the trip began and the duration in seconds. The idea of the collaboration is to help Boston tackle city planning issues such as urban growth, traffic congestion and public transport expansion. Uber has recently fought regulatory clampdowns in the US and overseas, and extending the Boston deal to other cities would go a long way to getting lawmakers on its side.

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