Uber's Bringing Uber Movement to London, Making Anonymous Ride Data Available to All

By Tom Pritchard on at

Last year Uber launched Uber Movement, an urban planning tool that made anonymous ride data available to governments and the public - the idea being that they can utilise Uber's data as they would other information collected on how people use and interact with public transport. Now that tool is going live in London.

While it pre-dates the regime change after the departure of Travis Kalanick, and the loss of its London operating licence Uber Movement was one of the many things Uber has done to try and appease regulators. They've continually had issues with some of the company's seemingly-dodgy business practices, so making the data available let them (and others) get a better glimpse into the day-to-day activities of Uber passengers and drivers.

Now, Movement is available in London so people can look at the data to see how travel times and conditions change at different times of day, week,  month, and year - plus how big events like road closures have affected the running of Uber's services. The taxi-firm-that-say-it's-not-a-taxi-firm also published a blog post explaining how everything works, using 2016 closure of Tower Bridge as an example.

Movement's launch is restricted to London for the time being, though Uber promises it will expand to other UK cities in the coming months - though only Manchester and Birmingham have been name-dropped so far. London was likely the first launch because of the number of people in the city, and perhaps as a way of showing TfL that it's willing to cooperate and freely offer up something the regulator can make good use of.

David Leam, London First’s Head of Infrastructure Policy, said:

“Uber Movement is an exciting new tool that will help cities like London better understand congestion and develop new solutions to tackle it. London businesses will welcome this initiative as a sign that Uber is committed to working in closer collaboration with city and transport planners to keep London moving.”

Uber has made it clear that this data is all anonymised, with all the data shared abiding by its privacy policy. It also, presumably, adheres to the Data Protection Act and the EU's upcoming GDPR or else there'll be hell to pay. So don't worry, nobody will be able to single out your individual ride to your mistress's house every Tuesday night and spill the beans to your spouse. [Uber via The Verge]

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